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Neuropsychoanalysis: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Freudian Science of Consciousness: Then and Now:
Commentary by David Livingstone Smith (Biddeford,
David Livingstone Smith



University of New England, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Eleven Hills
Beach Road, Biddeford, ME 04005, e-mail:
Published online: 09 Jan 2014.

To cite this article: David Livingstone Smith (2000) Freudian Science of Consciousness: Then and Now: Commentary by
David Livingstone Smith (Biddeford, ME), Neuropsychoanalysis: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Psychoanalysis and the
Neurosciences, 2:1, 38-45, DOI: 10.1080/15294145.2000.10773281
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e. for the purpose of this discussion. It was Freud's cherished hope that his psychological research would one day be placed on a sound neuroscientific footing. i. Like most philosophers of his day. etc. Freud's Neuropsychology in Context In the closing decades of the nineteenth century the philosopher Franz Brentano argued that the property of intentionality is the distinguishing mark of the menDavid Livingstone Smith. 104). different from ordinary usage when we say that we intend to do something. making reference to relevant contemporary contributions to cognitive science where this is germane. Freud's clinical experiences as a psychotherapist impelled him to reexamine the question of uncon- . Although Brentano was well aware of the existence of apparently unconscious mental states. insofar as we consider them apart from their substructure. Ph. ME) On October 20. In the present paper I will enlarge upon these aspects of Freud's work. cited in Brentano. Surgeon Major-General Edwin Hollerung. Brentano did not believe that mental states could be unconscious. These neurophysiological states were regarded as nothing more than dispositions for truly mental (conscious) states. and neuroscientists. tal. whose ideas they endorse in large measure). ceased actually to exist in the state of unconsciousness. Gustav Fechner. I will confine myself to the model presented in Freud's "Project for a Scientific Psychology" (1895) and will. and Freud has been proven right: the problem of the neurophysiology of mind is now squarely on the scientific agenda. from the psychical point of view. of course. a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.. Mark Solms for their helpful suggestions. emphasis added). 1962. have. 1896). Nearly a century has now elapsed since Hollerung's presentation. and which makes possible the reappearance of sensation.David Livingstone Smith 38 Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 Freudian Science of Consciousness: Then and Now: Commentary by David Livingstone Smith (Biddeford. summed up the dispositionalist position as follows: "Sensations. 55. 1874. p. I would like to thank Benjamin Yuri Smith. and I will go on to specify some of the mechanical properties that Freud tentatively attributed to the consciousness-generating neurones and the information impinging upon them. Freud's notion of a consciousness module is only one of several fundamental points of contact between his theory of consciousness and the theory proposed by Crick and Koch (and Ray Jackendoff. Brentano used intentionality in a technical philosophical sense. In a discussion of the neurophysiological modifications presumed to correlate with latent memories. Freud said that he appreciated and admired Hollerung for "wor king on problems that may be on the agenda a century after us" (Nunberg and Federn. ideas. Our consciousness shows nothing of a sort to justify. Chandler Rose. he denied that these states were truly mental. the name of a 'latent memory image. 1894). Freud's monograph On Aphasia (1891) proposed a dispositionalist theory of unconscious mental events. p. the revisions represented in Freud's letter to Fleiss of January 1. who was also a dispositionalist. Francis Crick and Christof Koch have now pointed out that Sigmund Freud was one of the first neuroscientific investigators to postulate the existence of consciousness-specific neurones. 1909.. He thus held that all intentional states are conscious. is Visiting Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of New England and is a practicing psychotherapist. This dispositionalist theory was widely held by late nineteenth-century psychologists. and Dr. ignore later theoretical innovations (e. a hypothesis that enjoys their scientific support. 280). In his response. He continued to entertain the dispositionalist theory as late as 1894 (Freud. creator of the science of psychophysics.g. but by the spring of 1895. he came under the influence of the British neuroscientist John Hughlings Jackson. gave a presentation to the Society on the neurophysiological basis of mind. Nevertheless something persists within us." (Fechner. Freud studied philosophy with Brentano at the University of Vienna. as an aphasiologist. without any mental characteristics. He believed that they were merely neurophysiological. An intentional state is a content-bearing or representational state: intentional states are about something. the psychophysical activity of which they are a function. Freud remarked that: "It is highly doubtful whether there is anything psychical that corresponds to this modification either.' But whenever the same state of the cortex is provoked again.. psychiatrists. Later.D. Acknowledgements. the psychical aspect comes into being once more as a mnemonic image" (p.

the mind is described as being transparent to itself..b. Freud described activation vectors in terms of passage of a moving quantity of energy (Qp. The passage of information through cI> leaves no lasting modifications. p. modifications brought about by the passage of excitation along neural vectors. Freud accordingly hypothesized the existence of two neural systems. Although Freud eventually abandoned the "Project.Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 Commentary on the Unconscious Homunculus scious mental states: "Are we to suppose that we are really dealing with thoughts which never came about.. cI> and $. which merely had a possibility of existing . so as to be ready for fresh perceptual events. i. 1895). 1999). there are numerous features of Freud's theory that reflect nineteenth-century misconceptions of the nervous system. Memories are laid down in the $ system so.) through the brain (McCulloch and Pitts [1943] did not introduce the information-processing approach to neural activity until several years after Freud's death). as incorrigibly aware of its own contents. when neuroscience was in its infancy. he knew nothing about the biophysics of the synapse and neural membrane. He describes the mind in materialistic and naturalistic terms: the "mental apparatus" is none other than the nervous system." and only a portion of the manuscript has survived. reconsideration of it may pay dividends not just to psychoanalysts. Freud had little or no knowledge of many features of the nervous system about which there is detailed and impressive knowledge today. But how? Freud believed that "memory traces" are modifications of neural firing thresholds. Freud was one of several researchers . unlike the cI> neurones. p. insuring that the perceptual apparatus is always ready to receive fresh input. ? It is clearly impossible to say anything about this until we have arrived at a thorough clarification of our basic psychological views. 1973). 300).. these shortcomings do not have deep consequences for the status of Freud's model understood in purely functional terms. 1992. In addition to these yawning gaps in the scientific knowledge available to him. and yet scant attention has been paid to it in the psychoanalytic literature (Natsoulas. 1989a. Perhaps the most glaring of these scientific shortcomings is his description of the physical basis of neural activity. and the physiology of the organelles.e. 1984. the $ neurones must in some way be altered by the passage of information through them. Freud's Theory of Consciousness Freud's theory of consciousness is central to the model of mind presented in the "Project" and much of his later metapsychological theorizing. and made a number of mistaken assumptions and conjectures about them. a document setting out a sophisticated and admittedly speculative neuroscientific model of the human mind. mind is something radically separate from body and is constituted from an immaterial substance. corresponding to them. Furthermore. The cI> system is an input system transmitting information received by the sense organs. Working in the late nineteenth century. Perception. on the other hand. One of the most striking features of the "Project" is its rejection of the legacy of Cartesian dualism and introspectionism that had dominated the European conception of the mind for over 200 years (Smith. especially on the nature of consciousness" (1895. Freud makes a fundamental distinction between perception and memory. but to all researchers striving to arrive at a scientific understanding of consciousness. Freud's view expressed in the "Project" (and in all of his later writings) is radically different. Memory must involve some "traces" or alterations caused by the passage of information through the central nervous system. 1985. There is a sense in which Freud's better-known theories of the unconscious and of repression cannot be fully understood outside of the context of his theory of consciousness. Freud's "thorough clarification" was issued in the "Project for a Scientific Psychology" (Freud. For example. The mind is a neurophysiological system 39 completely determined by the laws of physics and is to be studied like other natural things (1895). it is clear that it was the seedbed for much of his later work (Kanzer. is a notable exception). enzyme-gene interactions. As conceived within the Cartesian framework. requires neurons that return to their initial state once information has passed through them. 308) knowledge of the neurophysiological processes that instantiate mental states. Although Freud and his contemporaries had only a very sketchy understanding of the physiological details of neural activity. In light of the remarkable extent to which Freud's theory coheres with contemporary developments in consciousness studies and cognitive science. Introspection is said to provide "neither complete nor trustworthy" (1895. interneuronal interactions. At the time when Freud wrote the "Project" electrophysiology was still a young discipline and it was not yet understood that neural action potentials propagate by means of local depolarization. 1991.

mental representations in \jI must somehow ride . 1987. although unlike Fodor. too. located strategically between the outer and inner worlds. intentional or functional property" (Block. p. He held that the human brain thinks by manipulating a propositionally ordered neural code.Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 40 (which included William James [1892] and Freud's friend Siegmund Exner [1894]) who wrote about the mechanism of "Hebbian learning" more than half a century prior to the publication of Hebb' s classic The Organisation of Behaviour (1949). 1978. more generally. he held that expressions in neural code are realized in a connectionist rather than a classical computational architecture. how do the nonsensory cognitive representations in \jI become quality-laden conscious experiences in 0>1 Freud's proposed solution was an ingenious one. and passes from there into consciousness. internal version of the thinker's spoken language. what it's like to have mental states" (Block. 1995a. Freudian consciousness is David Livingstone Smith qualitative experience. In other words. 1997). Scientific and philosophical discussions of consciousness are frequently bedevilled by semantic ambiguity. receives information both from the external world (through <p) and from the organism itself. Freud's approach to the computational activity of the brain is now called connectionism. he claimed that the unconscious language of thought is distinct from and prior to spoken language. Phenomenal consciousness. a position nowadays called "sententialism" (Fodor. is simply experience "distinct from any cognitive. However. as Glymour (1991) has pointed out. speech. like the contemporary psychologist-philosopher Jerry Fodor (1975). Exner. whereas phenomenal consciousness is not. According to Glymour "Freud himself anticipated both the views of Lashley and Hebb. Freud did not hold that this lingua mentis is a silent. Invoking both Hebbian and non-Hebbian mechanisms. The 0> system receives information both from \jI. Information proliferating from \jI to 0> brings about an awareness of internal mental representations (thoughts) and affects. In order for unconscious. hear and smell. where resistances and facilitations [Bahnungen] provide the corresponding correlates. In the contemporary literature these qualitative dimensions of mind are referred to by the Latin term qualia. and that only sensations are directly conscious. 59). Baars (1988). Freud described mental representations as the products of learning and identical to "facilitated" trajectories through the brain. or "psychical qualities. and presented them in detail that is more congruent to current thinking" (p. Contemporary connectionists trace their pedigree back to the work of Donald Hebb. on the other hand. pose a major explanatory problem for Freud's theory of consciousness. In Freudian terminology. distinguishes between E-Ianguage (external language) and I-language (internal language). the thoughts must find some form of qualitative. Thought-consciousness is more problematic. 230). Rather. and do not. for if consciousness is built exclusively from qualia. 514). access consciousness is a function of the \jI system. t::homsky (1986). It is only after the input is processed by \jI that it may emerge into consciousness as a perception. Block (1995b) addressed this problem by drawing a fundamental distinction between "access consciousness" and "phenomenal consciousness. and qualia are purely sensory. When Freud spoke of consciousness he meant phenomenal consciousness. Flanagan (1992) uses the terms informational sensitivity and experiential sensitivity in much the same way. and to Karl Lashley before him. which. "Thoughts and psychical structures in general must never be regarded as localised in organic elements of the nervous system but rather. as one might say. 1995b." Access consciousness is purely informational or functional: an access-conscious content is a mental representation available to participate in action. as we have seen. Freud's theory is therefore in agreement with Crick and Koch when they describe consciousness as "probably caused by the activity of a small fraction of all the neurons in the brain. including Helmholz. Everything that can be an object of our internal perception is virtual" (Freud. 611). or rational thought. Freud's source for this idea was apparently the linguist Berthold De1brock (Greenberg. Freud held that qualia are intrinsically sensory. 1975. 1989). qualityless thoughts to "become" conscious. and Freud. Maloney. Qualia. p. and Flanagan (1992). this scientific lineage is more accurately traced back to the neuropsychologists of the late nineteenth century. the way it feels to have a pain. Freud identified consciousness with a third neurophysiological system. Freud stated in the "Project" that sensory information received by <p passes into \jI. a position later advocated by Jackendoff (1987)." include "the ways it feels to see. between them. the 0> system. sensory expression. p. Information from the internal world consisting of those physiological states that we experience as feelings is also gathered by \jI. Affects are essentially states of physiological arousal." Information proliferating from <p to 0> results in conscious perception. where it is cognitively processed and recorded in memory. therefore. 1900. Field.

The private talking-to-oneself behaviour might well not be the best imaginable way of amending the existing functional architecture of one's brain. Dennett envisages our hominid ancestors using a form of verbal autostimulation to become conscious of otherwise inaccessible information. For Freud. It also includes expressions for abstractions and relations. Language is richly symbolic and propositionally ordered." For an interesting discussion of this issue see Herzog [1991]).. So-called conscious mental processes are actually conscious representations of unconscious information structures. Freud suggested in the "Project" that thoughts must activate verbal motor representations in order to produce conscious effects (in later writings he would speak more generally of "verbal presentations. Jackendoff. strictly speaking. Suppose . visual and kinesthetic dimensions.. would be a way of building a "virtual wire" between the relevant subsystems [pp. asserts that "thought is never conscious" (p. there are no direct pathways for the transfer of thought-representations from'" to w: the transfer must be mediated by <1>. It would be slow and laborious. To perform the latter requires a propositionally ordered system of symbols possessing both semantic and material (sensory) properties that can be indexed to the brain's own propositional code. Although events in w supervene upon events in '" it is only a subset of the unconscious mental processes that are represented by modifications in consciousness. thought never becomes conscious. It is also richly sensory. In order for a thought to become conscious it must therefore activate a mental representation of a corresponding sentence." The motor speech representations must be activated only to a degree sufficient to produce feedback to w. What we loosely refer to as a thought's "becoming conscious" is more accurately described as a thought producing conscious effects. One way that this might occur is through the evocation of sensory representations. Freud believed that languages are just such symbol systems. because it had to make use of large tracts of nervous system "designed for other purposes" [po 197]. 202).. This silent process would maintain the loop of selfstimulation. however.. Freud's is therefore a kinesthetic theory of conscious thought." Provoking the specialist to "broadcast" the information into the environment.. Freud believed that thinking occurs outside consciousness in system "'. that although the right information is already in the brain. 171) anticipated Lashley's (1956) identical claim by 60 years.41 Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 Commentary on the Unconscious Homunculus piggyback on information traveling from <I> to wand thereby "be reinforced by new qualities" (Freud. But this picturelike method of becoming conscious has severe limitations. they cause effects in w. It can represent concrete particulars. possessing auditory. Representations do not move from '" to w. Freud's striking claim that "mental processes are in themselves unconscious" (1915. 1998). 1915.. SheetsJohnstone. suspended between acoustic representations on one side and representations of ideas on the other. as well as contemporary proprioceptive theories of consciousness (e. one could become conscious of the idea "dog" by evoking a mental image of a dog. p. 7). compared to the swift unconscious cognitive processes it was based on. thought-consciousness is a phonological-level phenomenon. 1923).. p. As we shall see. In order for an intentional content-a thought or memory-to be conscious it needs to be recoded as sensory information. In Freud's model. it is in the hands of the wrong specialist. 195-196]. He also believed that.g. the subsystem in the brain that needs the information cannot obtain it directly from the specialist-because evolution has simply not got around to providing such a "wire. As Jackendoff (1996a) puts it: "Language is the modality of consciousness in which the abstract and relational elements of thought are available as separate units" (p. and then relying on an existing pair of ears (and an auditory system) to pick it up. too.. 18). As he describes it in the "Project. Freud's formulation of this problem and its solution are reminiscent of a suggestion mooted by Daniel Dennett (1991)." . although we sometimes do "think aloud. Freud believed that this roundabout method of expression is required because the brain operates with two distinct coding systems. Manifest verbal autostimulation may have later become transformed into subvocal autostimulation. These motor representations do not have to be awakened to the extent of producing speech.. A further implication of this position underscored in Jackendoff's "Unconscious Information in Language and Psychodynamics" (1996b) is that there is no such thing as conscious thinking. but is able to represent neither abstractions nor logical relations. For instance. but jettison the peripheral vocalisation and audition portions of the process. In emphasizing the role of kinetic qualia in the production of conscious mental events Freud anticipated features of the behaviorist theory of thought as subvocal speech (Lashley.

put thought-processes on a level with perceptual processes" (1895. 1996. Consciousness is. Cariani and Delgutte. the spatial code of facilitated activation vectors which represents thoughts and memories (including procedural memories) and the temporal code that represents qualia. In Freud's view. 4. Perkell and Bullock. Amongst philosophers there is a spectrum of opinion ranging from the claim that qualia do not exist (Dennett. p. Hameroff (1995) suggests that qualia may be encoded not by neural firing frequencies. It is also distinct from the Crick-Koch hypothesis that synchronized neural oscillations tie disparate components of visual experience together into a coherent conscious whole (Crick and Koch. suggested that neural "oscillations" in 36 to 60 Hz range are responsible for the spectrum of conscious experience (Giizeldere..308). According to the "Project. what we are aware of. 1995): the problem of explaining how a physical feature of the brain can be identical to a subjective mental state. Freud does not attempt to answer what has become known as the "hard problem" of consciousness (Chalmers. 310). 1995). 1991) to the more optimistic notion that a complete neurophysiological explanation of qualia is in principle within our grasp (Churchland and Churchland.. temporal features of neural activity encode qualitative sensory information. These sensory "indications of speech-discharge . specify four fundamental explanatory tasks that a scientific theory of consciousness should address (Freud. Warland. In a much later work. The sensory receptors function "as sieves. brains have at their disposal two distinct modes for encoding information. 1995. but by quantum-level phenomena. It must strive to explain why consciousness is not directly aware of its own causal basis. It must strive to "explain . through our 'consciousness' " (p. Where do qualia originate? As I have already noted. 1996a). 1997. 1988. 1991). Garver. like the letter omega. taking samples of perceptual information at sufficiently rapid intervals to allow effective tracking of events in the external world. Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 The Problem of Qualia The problem of explaining how it is that brains generate qualia is perhaps the most vexing theoretical difficulty in the field of consciousness studies. A. With regard to the first explanatory task. 308). 574). through the thesis that although qualia are identical to neural states human beings will never be able to understand the mechanism of the connection (McGinn. 1997). in the most puzzling fashion. 1994. and Bialek. 366). There is now a body of neuroscientific research that may be reasonably interpreted to suggest that sensory information is represented by a temporal pattern code (Mountcastle. which are the output David Livingstone Smith rather than the causal basis of mental processing. 1982).42 unconscious thoughts activate acoustic "sound-images" that in turn activate motor "word-images" (verbal procedural memories) that produce conscious effects." then. The American neuroscientist A. For lackendoff (1987. It must strive to explain "where qualities originate" (p.. It must strive to explain "how qualities originate" (p. 1968. Each type of sensory receptor responds to a circumscribed spectrum of stimulation. How do they originate? Freud suggests that the "nerve ending apparatus" transduce incoming information into a neural code. Hardcastle. In other words. all that we are ever conscious of are patterns of sensation (qualia). 2. This brings us to the second problem. Rieke. too. Freud (1920) returned to the temporal code hypothesis suggesting that the sense receptors themselves operate intermittently rather than continuously. conscious thinking is a phonetic phenomenon occurring between acoustic input and conceptual content. however. Freud was not alone in suggesting that temporal features of neural activity are involved in the generation of consciousness. 307). p. 1967. Freud believed that they originate within the w system. The transduced stimulation is expressed as a temporal code (Periode in Freud's German) that is expressed differentially as a deviation from the baseline oscillations of the'" neurones. de Ruyter van Steveninck. Cariani. at the end of the line. 1895): 1. filtering out information external to it. namely . 3. for they allow the stimulus through from only certain processes with a particular period" (1895. Freud's oscillatory theory of consciousness is distinct from that proposed by Garver in the nineteenth century (1880). Freud (1900) unequivocally answers that consciousness is "a sense organ for the apprehension of psychical qualities" (p. who was inspired by the metaphysical speculations of Spence (1879). He does. 1990).. Freud held that consciousness does not deliver a direct perception of its own basis simply because consciousness is restricted to the registration of qualia.

: Cambridge University Press. it passes across synapses independently of QJL. R.(1997). P. The brain possesses two means of encoding information.. Block. Bergman. p. New York: Plenum. References Abeles. Qualia. Even in instances when the firing threshold is not reached. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.. N. Because the propagation of the temporal code has no impact on the synaptic weights of the neurones involved. On a confusion about a function of consciousness. Baars. Suggestions along related lines have been made by Pribrahm (1971) and Libet (1995). 1973. sensory modalities are distinguished by temporal features of the information transduced by sensory receptors. The phenomenon of qualia recognition is not incompatible with Freud's model. M. ed. and variations within each modality must be assumed to correspond to precise temporal codes within the larger modal pattern. Freud's hypothesis might also be considered in relation to quantum theoretic hypotheses of non-local interactions within the brain (Hameroff. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.. Temporal coding of sensory information. Conceptual and procedural information is represented through the modification of synaptic weights. Hillsdale. Brentano. .. Because the temporal code propagates from neuron to neuron by means of induction or an inductionlike process. On this view I do not in any sense feel the softness of my wife's skin when recollecting it. 1981. 1993.. "this transmission of quality is not durable. Behav.. I am put in touch with a representation or idea of the sensation of softness (related discussions can be found in Dennett [1986. hence the fugitive nature of conscious experience. as though it were a process of induction" (1895. What Freud may have in mind is the hypothesis that qualitative memories represent qualia rather than reproducing them. As if time really mattered: Temporal strategies for neural coding of sensory information. 70(4):1629-1638. E. Lestienne. Freud's claim that qualities cannot be remembered as such is starkly counterintuitive. Qualitative information is represented by means of a temporal code. J. and requires only some neural mechanism for temporal pattern matching. & Vaadia. 1996). or some other field phenomenon allowing for propagation of the temporal code across synaptic barriers. Instead. Freud was not entirely 43 consistent about his views on qualitative memories. Conclusion Freud's systematic theory of consciousness advanced in his "Project for a Scientific Psychology" is in agreement with the Crick-Koch theory in several respects. 1993. Bower. M. 1995). or some other field phenomenon. 1987. In: Origins: Brain and Self-Organization. 1895). . 18:228-287. ed. for example. Margalit. . When I conjure up a memory of my wife. and the softness of her skin. 2. which must therefore be assumed to possess some kind of frequency-sensitive mechanism. Freud believed that this neural code is "transmitted without inhibition . Precise temporal spiking patterns have indeed been observed by contemporary investigators (Emmers.Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 Commentary on the· Unconscious Homunculus specific frequencies of boson-condensed field excitation in the brain. and Vaadia. Freud additionally suggested that: 1. Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. 591-598. Guttenplan. I remember her brown eyes. Cambridge.. (1988). Mountcastle.K. as well as anticipating the views of other contemporary researchers. This temporal code propagates "without inhibition. (1874). her fragrance. E. F. S. and there is no transmission of QJL qualitative information is transferred. By "induction" he apparently meant electromagnetic induction. Bergman. In The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). According to the "Project" synchronized temporal patterns are transformed into qualia by the w system. A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. The neurones of consciousness must be assumed to possess special physiological properties enabling it to recognize temporally coded information. Cariani...(1995b). 31). Abeles.1991]). NJ: Erlbaum. pp. & Brain Sci. but does not explain how the memory of a quality-however attenuated-can be laid down physiologically. Lestienne and Strehler. (1995a).. Neurophysiol. Pribram. ed. (1993). In order for an unconscious mental content to produce a conscious thought it must be re-coded in the temporal mode. In: Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Margalit. it leaves no traces behind and cannot be reproduced" (Freud. Spatiotemporal firing patterns in the frontal cortex of behaving monkeys. U. 4. B. K." perhaps by means of electromagnetic induction. 3. These certainly appear to be qualitative memories. (1995). In: Computational Neuroscience: Trends in Research. J.. he claims that memories possess little sensory quality. According to this model.

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15:305-348. (1984).K. & Contemp. . New York: International Universities Press. systematic phenomenal reflection convinced me that there is no such distinction in the quality of phenomenal experience itself. in the search for neural correlates of consciousness. Smith. Psychoanal.45 Downloaded by [Adelphi University] at 23:59 19 August 2014 Commentary on the Unconscious Homunculus Natsoulas. Psychoanal.. Freud and consciousness II: Derived consciousness. Warland. & Contemp. .. Consciousness: A natural history..pipex. Freud and consciousness I: Intrinsic consciousness.. 7:195-232. IV: A propedeutic for functions of consciousness in hypercathected speech-imagery.. Thought. MA: MIT Press. This is an empirical (in the broad sense of the term) though not a logical or philosophical problem. J.(1989b). M. (1971). David Livingstone Smith University of New England Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Eleven Hills Beach Road. we may all have a rough idea of what is meant by being conscious. this is not enough for effective investigation of the topic. T. I am reluctant here to use the term introspection. ME 04005 e-mail: DavidISmith@dial. H. Thought. & Contemp. The Open University. The Importance of Developing a Phenomenal Description of Consciousness While Crick and Koch may be correct that it would be premature to advance a definition of consciousness. de Ruyter van Steveninck. Freud and consciousness V: Emotions and feelings. D. W. 6(3):221-348. to try to be clear about what precisely constitutes phenomenal consciousness. Consciousness Studies. NL: Kluwer Academic.. (1968).. Freud and consciousness ill: The importance of tertiary consciousness.. D. 8:183-220.(1991). L. T. Freud and consciousness VI: A present-day perspective. Eds. as they state. New York: Brandon House. F. Too often the term consciousness is used loosely to cover any cognitive functions of sufficient complexity or personal significance. England. P. Sheets-Johnstone. Neurosci. Thought. Perkell. . 13:337-346. Pribrahm.. Let me take up three core issues the authors raise and then conclude with brief comments on two others.. Milton Keynes. 14:69-108. Res. & Federn. 12:97-123.(1992). Psychoanal. Nunberg. & Bialek.. Although. E. & Contemp. (Such a distinction I note is also assumed by the authors of this paper. I appreciate their realization of how crucial it is. Space and time considered as negations.. It is a conceptual rather than phenomenological distinction-to do with implicit meanings (see below) attached to experiencing rather than conscious experience itself. Usually when philosophers talk about introspecting. this is not an adequate basis for claims about the nature of phenomenological experience and is likely to be readily influenced by preconceptions. Specul. . Vol. & Contemp. (1879). I had initially assumed. Spence. & Contemp. Richard Stevens is Head of Psychology... UK. Freud and consciousness. Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code. How we move to a clearer and more effective description of phenomenal consciousness is of course problematic. that there is a phenomenal distinctiveness between conscious experience and reflexive or self-consciousness. K.. Bull. Finding rigorous ways of exploring and articulating what we are consciously aware of is at the heart of the problem. I know this from my own experience. . Psychoanal. they refer to examples they derive from thinking about experience in retrospect. Languages of the Brain: Experimental Paradoxes and Principles in Neurophysiology. Unfortunately. Analyzing First-Person Experience: The Value of Phenomenal Reflection in Providing Signposts for Investigating Its Neural Correlates: Commentary by Richard Stevens (Milton Keynes.. Thought. Thought. Freud's Philosophy of the Unconscious. (1999). Psychoanal.) What I find particularly valuable about Crick and Koch's paper is the rich and lucid discussion of issues relating to our understanding of consciousness.(1985). H. 2. . Rieke. J. Prog.. Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. H. 12:619-662. & Bullock. D.) However. Philosophy.(1989a). (1962). Thought. Cambridge. 5(3):260-295. (1998). (1997). Neural coding. for example. Psychoanal. R. Biddeford. Dordrecht.