Why don't we know what Mary knows? Baars’ reversing the problem of qualia

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Baars’ (1997a,b) Global Workspace theory suggests that consciousness functions as a gateway, facilitating focused access to any part of the brain. While this hypothesis does not address the ‘hard problems’, namely, the very nature of consciousness, it constrains any theory that attempts to do so and provides important insights into the relation between consciousness and cognition. Many questions have found new answers once they were turned upside down. In medicine, for example, important discoveries have been made when, instead of asking ‘Why did this disease inflict this person now?’ someone rather asked ‘Why doesn't this disease always inflict all people?’ Bernard Baars (1997a,b) tries to do something similar with the mind-body problem. Whereas most people often ask, ‘Why are there conscious experiences accompanying some brain processes?’, he asks, ‘Why aren't there conscious experiences accompanying all brain processes?’

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: School of Physics and Astronomy, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, 69978 Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Publication date: January 1, 1997

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