Cartesian theater

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Objects experienced are represented within the mind of the observer
The Cartesian Theater is a somewhat disparaging term coined by philosopher Daniel Dennett to pointedly refer to the defining aspect of Cartesian materialism, which he considers to be the often unacknowledged remnants of Cartesian dualism in modern materialistic theories of the mind.

Descartes originally claimed that consciousness involves an immaterial soul, which observes a representation of the world in the pineal gland of the brain. Under this notion, the soul plays the role of a homunculus, a creature with self-directed will power.

Dennett says that, when the dualism is removed, what remains of Descartes' original model amounts to imagining a tiny theater in the brain where the homunculus, now physical, performs the task of observing all the sensory data projected on a screen at a particular instant, making the decisions and sending out commands. (cf the Homunculus argument). According to Dennett (1991):

Cartesian materialism is the view that there is a crucial finish line or boundary somewhere in the brain, marking a place where the order of arrival equals the order of "presentation" in experience because what happens there is what you are conscious of. [...] Many theorists would insist that they have explicitly rejected such an obviously bad idea. But [...] the persuasive imagery of the Cartesian Theater keeps coming back to haunt us — laypeople and scientists alike — even after its ghostly dualism has been denounced and exorcized. [p.107, original emphasis.[1]


The term Cartesian theater was brought up in the context of the Multiple Drafts Model that Dennett posits in Consciousness Explained.

See also

References

1. ^ Daniel C Dennett. (1991), Consciousness Explained, Little, Brown & Co. USA (ISBN 0-316-18065-3)]
  • Daniel C Dennett. (1991), Consciousness Explained, Little, Brown & Co. USA (ISBN 0-316-18065-3)
  • Dennett, D. and Kinsbourne, M. (1992) Time and the Observer: the Where and When of Consciousness in the Brain. (1992) Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15, 183-247, 1992. Reprinted in The Philosopher's Annual, Grim, Mar and Williams, eds., vol. XV-1992, 1994, pp. 23-68; Noel Sheehy and Tony Chapman, eds., Cognitive Science, Vol. I, Elgar, 1995, pp.210-274.http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/time&obs.htm

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Daniel Clement Dennett (born March 28 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a prominent American philosopher whose research centers on philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.
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Cartesian materialism is the idea that at some place (or places) in the brain, there is some set of information that directly corresponds to our conscious experience. Contrary to its name, Cartesian materialism is not a view that was held by or formulated by René Descartes, who
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dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical.[1]
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materialism is that form of physicalism which holds that the only thing that can truly be said to exist is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions; that matter is the only substance.
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Consciousness is a characteristic of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment.
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The homunculus argument arises most commonly in the theory of vision. One may explain (human) vision by arguing that the light from the outside world forms an image on the retinas in the eyes and something in the brain looks at these images as if they are images on a movie screen
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Daniel Dennett's Multiple Drafts Model of Consciousness is a physicalist theory of consciousness based upon cognitivism, which views the mind in terms of information processing. The theory is described in depth in his book, Consciousness Explained, written in 1991.
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Consciousness Explained (published 1991) is a controversial book by the American philosopher Daniel Dennett which offers an account of how consciousness arises from interaction of physical and cognitive processes in the brain.
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Cartesian materialism is the idea that at some place (or places) in the brain, there is some set of information that directly corresponds to our conscious experience. Contrary to its name, Cartesian materialism is not a view that was held by or formulated by René Descartes, who
..... Click the link for more information.
Consciousness is a characteristic of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment.
..... Click the link for more information.
The homunculus argument arises most commonly in the theory of vision. One may explain (human) vision by arguing that the light from the outside world forms an image on the retinas in the eyes and something in the brain looks at these images as if they are images on a movie screen
..... Click the link for more information.
Daniel Dennett's Multiple Drafts Model of Consciousness is a physicalist theory of consciousness based upon cognitivism, which views the mind in terms of information processing. The theory is described in depth in his book, Consciousness Explained, written in 1991.
..... Click the link for more information.


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