The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Enter the Body

Largely inspired by French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a number of US philosophers, such as Mark Johnson and Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, have "rediscovered" the body. 

Cognitive scientists tend to focus on the input (perception) and neglect the output (action). Most models of the mind have been built by concentrating on perception: how the world is perceived by the mind. Very little is usually said on how the mind acts on the world. But action (movement) is no less important a part of our experience.

Sheets-Johnstone retraces Merleau-Ponty's philosophy in claiming that thinking is modeled on the body and grounded in animate form. The "tactile-kinesthetic body" is the source of corporeal concepts. All our cognitive life is grounded in movement. Consciousness does not arise from matter, but from self-movement. Even the simplest forms of life enjoy a "meta-corporeal consciousness of the chemical constitution of the environment".

 


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