[ExI] agency-based personal identity

Bo Morgan neptune at MIT.EDU
Thu Jun 28 15:25:57 UTC 2007

Here is a quote that describes the task involved in this "instrospection" 
study that claims to have localized the homunculus in the brain:

The experiment was conducted in both the visual and auditory domains and 
consisted of three conditions: (1) an easy categorization condition 
(slow), in which subjects categorized visual and auditory objects 
presented at a slow rate (one stimulus/ 3 s.); (2) an introspective 
condition (introspection), having identical stimuli and motor responses 
except that subjects were required to self-introspect about their own 
emotional responses (aroused versus neutral) toward these stimuli, as used 
in previous experiments (Bradley and Lang, 1994; Rotshtein et al., 2001); 
and (3) a difficult categorization task (rapid) similar to the slow 
condition but at triple the stimulation rate. Thus, slow and introspection 
conditions were identical in terms of sensory stimuli and motor output but 
differed in the cognitive task. On the other hand, slow and rapid 
conditions were similar in the cognitive task but differed in the 
sensorimotor processing and attentional loads.

It is not clear to me how (2) is a good example of homunculus activity.  
Perhaps this is because I don't understand what they mean by 
homunculus--why this is a good theory of mind.  It doesn't sound like a 
useful breakdown.  It sounds like they've found a "speaking about 
emotions" area of the brain--if anything.


On Thu, 28 Jun 2007, Thomas wrote:

) Gordon wrote:
) > [...] Most of what we will is willed unconsciously. [...]
) It sounds to me like this phenomenal will you speak of means about the the
) same thing as when Jef cites predetermined [default] values as the most
) observable and necessary attributes of personhood.  I prefer Jef's way of
) expressing it because my meaning for will includes consciousness.  While we
) can function temporarily without self awareness activity in the superfrontal
) gyrus,
) (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9019-watching-the-brain-switch-off-selfawareness.html)
) I agree that "Self-awareness [is] regarded as a key element of being human."
) So I guess I agree that will is essential to personhood, but not the way you
) mean it.  -- Thomas
) Thomas at ThomasOliver.net

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