The sensorimotor approach – consciousness as a red herring

I particularly enjoyed J. Kevin O’Regan’s no-nonsense account of the sensorimotor approach to consciousness. He, indeed, may be right that consciousness is a multivariate phenomenon with many parallel streams which does not emerge from the brain as a discreet identifiable process, and is consequently unclassifiable. I can almost subscribe to this view, but it still leaves many scientific avenues open that require fundamental exploration, for instance:

1. How does the brain encode language into our cognitive processes, as well as the many non-linguistic images? We have not the first glimmer of an idea at present.

2. How are the dominant emotional processes in our brains incorporated into human thoughts? Julian Kiverstein refers to some of the brain regions and processes which contribute to our irrational nature and produce a largely ignored feature of consciousness.


The sensorimotor approach can never dig deep into the human psyche, but it may have the welcome effect of stopping much of the nonsense written about consciousness. Some hope!




David Friend


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