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Toward a continuity of consciousness

by M Spivey, S Cargill
J Consc Studies ()

Abstract

Real-time cognition is continuous in time and contiguous in mental state space. This temporal continuity implies that the majority of mental life is spent in states that are partially consistent with multiple representations. The state-space contiguity implies that different cognitive processes interact in ways that make them quite non-modular. As the evidence for such information-permeability expands to include not just neural subsystems but also the entire brain and even the entire organism, this radical interactionism leads one to hypothesize that mental activity, and perhaps consciousness itself, is something that emerges amid the interface between one's body and one's environment. We portray mental activity as a continuous trajectory through a brain-body-environment state space, where close visitations with labelled attractors may constitute reportable self-consciousness and traversais through unlabeled regions may constitute unutterable immediate conscious awareness.

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