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Explaining Multiple Forms of Conscious Awareness, and More - Frank Heile

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Frank Heile
December 6, 2018 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Alway M114

Frank Heile, PhD 

Physics, Stanford

This talk presents a materialistic model of consciousness that can explain the distinctions between several different forms of conscious awareness:

  • Non-human animal consciousness
  • Modern human consciousness
  • Flow state consciousness
  • “Enlightened” states of consciousness (also known as “nonduality”)
  • Consciousness experienced in Auto-Activation Deficit syndrome
  • The phenomenal consciousness vs. access-consciousness distinction proposed by NYU philosopher Ned Block
  • How spirituality developed and how its invention changed consciousness

A three-agent model of the brain, combined with the Attention Schema Theory model of awareness proposed by Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano, provides a framework to explain these distinctions.

Finally, this model can offer answers to the following philosophical questions:

  • Why does conscious awareness seem to be fundamentally non-physical and to not have a location in space?
  • What conditions cause conscious awareness to arise?
  • Can conscious awareness exist without a “self?”
  • Do humans have free will?
Event Sponsor: 
Stanford Complexity Group
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