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Difficulties with the Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness

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Abstract:

The author's version of the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness is stated briefly and then three difficulties with the theory are discussed. The first is a purely technical problem: how to measure accurately enough the spatial properties of the fields which are proposed to be conscious and then how to generate these artificially, so that the theory can be tested. The second difficulty might also be merely technical, or it might be substantive and fatal to the theory. This is that present measurements seem to show a non-constant relationship between brain-generated electromagnetic fields and sensation. The third difficulty involves the basic question of whether consciousness per se has any direct effect on the brain. As an afterword, the disproportionate contribution of synchronously firing neurons to conscious percepts is simply explained in terms of the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness. Susan Pockett Difficulties with the Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness Abstract: The author's version of the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness is stated briefly and then three difficulties with the theory are discussed. The first is a purely technical problem: how to measure accurately enough the spatial properties of the fields which are proposed to be conscious and then how to generate these artificially, so that the theory can be tested. The second difficulty might also be merely technical, or it might be substantive and fatal to the theory. This is that present measurements seem to show a non-constant relationship between brain-generated electromagnetic fields and sensation. The third difficulty involves the basic question of whether consciousness per se has any direct effect on the brain. As an afterword, the disproportionate contribution of synchronously firing neurons to conscious percepts is simply explained in terms of the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Email: s.pockett@auckland.ac.nz

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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