Stinking Consciousness!

Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (3-4):223-243 (2012)
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Abstract

Contemporary neuroscientific theories of consciousness are typically based on the study of vision and have neglected olfaction. Several of these (e.g. Global Workspace Theories, the Information Integration theory, and the various theories offered by Crick and Koch) claim that a thalamic relay is necessary for consciousness. Studies on olfaction and the olfactory system's anatomical structure show this claim to be incorrect, thus showing these theories to be either false or inadequate as general and comprehensive accounts of consciousness. Attempts to rescue these theories by claiming that there is a structure in the olfactory system that is functionally equivalent to the thalamus in the visual system, such as the olfactory bulb or the olfactory cortex, are also shown to fail. If we wish to understand consciousness, we have to wake up and smell it.

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Author's Profile

Benjamin D. Young
University of Nevada, Reno

References found in this work

A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness.Bernard J. Baars - 1988 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The information integration theory of consciousness.Giulio Tononi - 2007 - In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell. pp. 287--299.
The Astonishing Hypothesis.Francis Crick - 1994 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 37:267.
Functions of the thalamic reticular complex: The searchlight hypothesis.Francis Crick - 1984 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Usa 81:4586-93.

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