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Minding the Body
Abstract

Abstract:

Precisely how and precisely where is human conscious experience located in the natural world? The Extended Conscious Mind Thesis says this:

The constitutive mechanisms of human conscious experience include both extra-neural bodily facts and also extra-bodily worldly facts.

Recently, in “Spreading the Joy? Why the Machinery of Consciousness Is (Probably) Still in the Head,” Andy Clark has argued for what I call The Cautious Consciousness-Is-All-Neural Thesis:

Because the arguments currently on offer for The Extended Conscious Mind Thesis fall short of decisive proof, then, all things considered, we should conclude that the constitutive mechanisms of human conscious experience are all either in the brain or the central nervous system.

I agree with Clark that The Extended Conscious Mind Thesis is (probably) false. But I also think that there is sufficient reason for rejecting Clark’s Cautious Consciousness-Is-All-Neural Thesis, and for accepting what I call The Body-Bounded Conscious Mind Thesis:

Human conscious experience occurs everywhere in our living bodies, constitutively including the brain and the central nervous system, and ALSO constitutively including all the other vital systems of the living body, right out to the skin, but no further out than that.



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