Theatre models of consciousness and Barrs & Dennett are explored.

What are Theatre Models of Consciousness? How do they help explain the phenomenon of consciousness?

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Dennett further suggests that the "idea of a 'special centre' in the brain is the most tenacious bad idea bedeviling our attempts to think about consciousness". The idea of a 'special centre' results from our personal, introspective appreciation of the 'unity of consciousness', this impresses on us the distinction between "me" and the "outside world" and between "in here" and "out there".

Marcel Kinsbourne has also criticised the Cartesian theatre and along with Dennett claims that the theatre cannot work as it makes no sense that there is a single point in the brain where consciousness comes together. (This however is also the view of Baars a supporter of theatre models).

One can conclude therefore that the Cartesian theatre is extremely limited and littered with problem that cannot be answered. This model however it should be noted is not used in science today, however it has served as an interesting staring point for other similar models to be developed. Indeed the short fallings of this 'single point of consciousness' approach helped Dennett to develop his 'multiple drafts' model of consciousness.

Dennett suggests that theatre models of consciousness (mainly the Cartesian Theatre) are just a comforting image because it preserves the reality/appearance distinction at the heart of human subjectivity. However such metaphors are scientifically unmotivated thus is metaphorically dubious as it creates a bizarre category of the objective subjective (Smullyan, 1981).

Theatre models assume that consciousness 'comes together' however this has been disputed. The multiple drafts model for example uses the premise that there is no coming together of consciousness. Visual stimuli are explained as 'trains of events' in the cortex that gradually yield discrimination of greater specificity, thus no 'centre' is required.

However, Dennett goes on to actually state that there was 'something Descartes was actually right about: There is a functional place of some sort where the items of phenomenology are..... projected''. So if there is a place where there is 'projection' then why not in the form a theatre?

The theatre concept is then confronted with Dennett creating the theory of 'retrospective construction'; this theory is in opposition to the theatre concept and is much like the multiple drafts model devised by Dennett. Nelson Goodman also raises the issue of Paul Kolers's colour phi experiment and declares that it "seems to leave us a choice between a retrospective construction theory and a belief in clairvoyance".

There are important implications for the theatre metaphor. One such implication is the idea that consciousness is a gateway to learning. Baars (1997) suggests that 'as human beings we only do one thing with whatever we need to learn: we just bring it to consciousness, and specialized learning somehow occurs'. Baars believes that becoming conscious of ...