Thoughts on Consciousness

Volume 20
Issue 2
251 ~ 280
David Mumford
For many years, I have tried to come to a deeper understanding of what consciousness really means. This paper is a series of meditations about some aspects of this puzzle. First, I look at neuroscientists quest to localize consciousness in the brain and find wildly different conclusions. Second, believing that emotions are an essential component of consciousness, I explore some ideas of those who seek a theory of emotions. Third, I look at the connection of consciousness and time, especially the NOW. Fourthly, I try to lay out the pros and cons of which, if any, animals have consciousness. And finally, I discuss whether consciousness can find a home in silicon, in an “AI.”

Keywords: Conscious, Brain areas, Emotions, Now, Time, Animal awareness, AI, Neural nets, Grammar