Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Da da da - du liebst mich nicht ich lieb dich nicht

The simple theory is this: a state of mind is conscious when (and only when) one has a thought about it. This explains why it comes as a shock to us to be told that most states of mind are unconscious: for whenever we think about one, that makes it conscious [...] Suppose you are thinking, unconsciously, about someone who dislikes you, and it is spoiling your mood. What would it take for the unconscious thought to become conscious?
Simple answer: you'd have to have another thought, the thought that you were thinking about the person who dislikes you. If you have such a thought then you clearly are aware that you are thinking of your non-friend, and so that thought is conscious. And it is hard to imagine any way that the thought could be conscious that would not lead you to think that you had it. So consciousness is thought about thought.
That is the "higher-order thought" theory, often called the "HOT" theory of consciousness.
A. Morton, "Darkly through the glasses", TLS July 28 2006, p.11



At 10:01 am, Blogger Geist said...

Contemp. cognitive science reads like its own Gary Larson caricature: "Having neglected two hundred years of psychiatric research, Prof Rosenthal began his theoory on mental process"


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