Introduction: Treating Consciousness as a Variable: The Fading Taboo
Baars (Bernard)
Source: Baars, Banks & Newman - Essential Sources in the Scientific Study of Consciousness
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperNotes Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer

Metapsychology On-line Review

    In his comprehensive introduction (which in itself would serve as a useful set text for a wider audience) Baars argues for consciousness to be treated as a variable rather than as an absolute state. By this he means that consciousness can be measured as being more or less present in relation to other states, such as between wakefulness and sleep1, alertness and coma, new and habituated events, and so on. In this way, and in opposition to those who deny consciousness can be scientifically (that is, experimentally) studied at all, Baars and his colleagues propose that hard empirical data can be reliably gathered about the processes of consciousness, and thus contribute to the building of a coherent scientific theory of this most enigmatic of human attributes. The favored methodological approach seeks to correlate internal, subjective experiences with objective experimental techniques so that, as Baars says, "in modern science we are practicing a kind of verifiable phenomenology". (p. 8) Philosophical analyses continue to dominate the study of consciousness. Recent resurgence of interest in neuroscience study of consciousness and the interest shown by the other sciences reflect the contemporary concerns. Science and Consciousness Review, an upcoming forum highlighting these concerns would vouch for this trend.
    … G.C.Gupta, PhD.
Section Headings
Table 1.1: Some widely studied polarities between matched conscious and unconscious phenomena



1. Explicit cognitionImplicit cognition
2. Immediate memoryLonger term memory
3. Novel, informative, and significant eventsRoutine, predictable, and nonsignificant events
4. Attended informationUnattended information
5. Focal contentsFringe contents (e.g., familiarity)
6. Declarative memory (facts, etc.) Procedural memory (skills, etc.)
7. Supraliminal stimulationSubliminal stimulation
8. Effortful tasksSpontaneous/automatic tasks
9. Remembering (recall) Knowing (recognition)
10. Available memoriesUnavailable memories
11. Strategic controlAutomatic control
12. Grammatical stringsImplicit underlying grammars
13. Intact reticular formation and bilateral intralaminar thalamic nucleiLesioned reticular formation, or bilateral intralaminar nuclei
14. Rehearsed items in Working MemoryUnrehearsed items
15. Wakefulness and dreams (cortical arousal) Deep sleep2, coma, sedation (cortical slow waves)
16. Explicit inferencesAutomatic inferences
17. Episodic memory (autobiographical) Semantic memory (conceptual knowledge)
18. Autonoetic memoryNoetic memory
19. Intentional learningIncidental learning
20. Normal visionBlindsight (cortical blindness)


Printout filed in "Various - Papers on Philosophy of Mind Boxes: Vol 1 (Coursework & A-C)".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - March 2019. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page