Publication 2085

Thompson E. & Varela F. J. (2001) Radical embodiment: Neural dynamics and consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5(10): 418–435. Fulltext at
We propose a new approach to the neuroscience of consciousness, growing out of the ‘enactive’ viewpoint in cognitive science. This approach aims to map the neural substrates of consciousness at the level of large-scale, emergent and transient dynamical patterns of brain activity (rather than at the level of particular circuits or classes of neurons), and it suggests that the processes crucial for consciousness cut across the brain–body–world divisions, rather than being brain-bound neural events. Whereas standard approaches to the neural correlates of consciousness have assumed a one-way causal-explanatory relationship between internal neural representational systems and the contents of consciousness, our approach allows for theories and hypotheses about the two-way or reciprocal relationship between embodied conscious states and local neuronal activity.


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