Daniel Dennett “Consciousness Explained” (1991) Cartesian theater The Cartesian theater is a derisive term coined by philosopher and

cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett to pointedly refer to a defining aspect of what he calls Cartesian materialism, which he considers to be the often unacknowledged remnants of Cartesian dualism in modern materialistic theories of the mind. Descartes originally claimed that consciousness requires an immaterial soul, which interacts with the body via the pineal gland of the brain. Dennett says that, when the dualism is removed, what remains of Descartes' original model amounts to imagining a tiny theater in the brain where a homunculus (small person , now physical, performs the task of observing all the sensory data pro!ected on a screen at a particular instant, making the decisions and sending out commands. (cf. the "omunculus argument . The term Cartesian Theater was brought up in the conte#t of the $ultiple Drafts $odel that Dennett posits in Consciousness %#plained (&''& ( Cartesian materialism is the view that there is a crucial finish line or boundary somewhere in the brain, marking a place where the order of arrival equals the order of )presentation) in e#perience because what happens there is what you are conscious of. *...+ $any theorists would insist that they have e#plicitly re!ected such an obviously bad idea. ,ut *...+ the persuasive imagery of the Cartesian Theater keeps coming back to haunt us-laypeople and scientists alike-even after its ghostly dualism has been denounced and e#orci.ed. -Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained [p.107, original emphasis.]

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful