Damasio’s and Dehaene’s Key Terms

Antonio Damasio’s and Stanislas Dehaene’s theories of consciousness and the self are complicated and can get bewildering on a first reading.

The good news is that they are both careful to define their key terms–which give names to their key concepts. A good way to get a handle on these readings is to keep track of these key terms as you read and to revisit them. First, be sure that you understand the definition of each term. Then, do your best to understand the relationships among the terms. If you understand these relationships, you’ll understand the nuances of the theories. (It’s okay if this doesn’t happen all at once. We’ll examine them in detail in class.)

Here’s a list of Damasio’s terms:

  • organism, object, and image
  • core consciousness and extended consciousness
  • primordial self, proto self, core self, autobiographical self
  • self-as-subject and self-as-object
  • qualia, emotion, and feeling
  • image, neural pattern, neural representation, maps
  • internal milieu and homeostasis
  • body loop and “as if body loop”

Here’s a list of Dehaene’s terms:

  • conscious access
  • signatures of consciousness
  • global neuronal workspace
  • cell assemblies
  • modelling / computer simulation

You’ll find these terms scattered throughout the two texts we’re reading. Just look out for them at first and mark them when you come across them. Revisit them later and see if you understood how they contribute to the theory as a whole. (Some of the terms will be familiar from The Shaking Woman, Neurocomic, and other texts we’ve read. )

 

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