Coscienza ed emozioni

The consciousness issue, 2014. Antonio Damasio

a first problem: consciousness has a profusion of meanings mind italiano

Un primo problema: la coscienza ha una profusione di significati mentali

– mente con soggettività
 – mente con l’autobiografia
 – consapevolezza di sé e dintorni
 – vigilanza con orientamento al sé
 – tempo e luogo
 – sentimento (sensazione?) / sensing (percezione?) 

 – mind with subjectivity
 – mind with autobiography
 – awareness of self and surroundings
 – wakefulness with orientation to self
 – time and place
 – feeling / sensing

a second problemitaliano

  – l’idea tradizionale che i processi mentali non possano essere pienamente spiegati dalla materialità dei fenomeni neurobiologici;
 – il contrasto tra descrizioni dettagliate della mente e una visione limitata di ciò che il tessuto cerebrale può realizzare funzionalmente
 – the traditional intuition that mind processes can not be fully accounted for by the materiality of neurobiological phenomena;
 – the contrast between detailed descriptions of mind and a limited view of what brain tissue can accomplish functionally

a third problem italiano

una concezione incorporea della mente separata dagli organismi viventi che l’hanno generata
a disembodied conception of mind separate from the living organisms that gave rise to it

a biological context italiano

un contesto biologico
. l’omeostasi e i suoi obiettivi
. una regolazione immediata della vita
(approvvigionamento di energia, metabolismo)
. mantenimento dell’integrità del corpo.
. regolazione sociale
. assicurare la continuazione delle specie
homeostasis and its goals
 – immediate life regulation (energy procurement; metabolism)
 –  maintenance of integrity of soma
 – social regulation
 – ensuring species continuation

 – The goals of homeostasis are implemented via action programs 
 – Basic action programs solve complex problems with standard but elaborate responses that do not require deliberation

 – The program are pre-set (innate, instinctual)
 – Learning can expand their deployment (conditioning, habits)

Varietes of action-program:
drives & motivation & emotions-proper
 – appetites for food, drink, sex
– eploration/play
– care of progeny
– attachment to progeny and mates

All programs are valenced;
they produce body states that are experienced as feelings;
feeling range from pleasure and well-being to malaise and pain;
their experience is necessary for life regulation;

 – separate the issue of general mind-making from the making of subjective experiences.
 – further separate mind-making directed at the exterior, from mind-making directed at the interior

. externally directed senses
. (mapping, memory storage and recall)
 – body  directed senses (interoception)
   feeling of body states

the subjectivity platform
 – the body brain compact
(general interoception from brain-stem, hypotalamus, circumventricular organs)
 –  the body-phantom 

second order maps
 – reflexive, infinitely looped integration of body-compact feelings with body-phantom  events;
 – remaping in heteromodal cortices (abstractsd schermata transcripts; linguistic descriprion)

I think that when I open my iPhone, i can see a beautiful image that was produced by a certain engeneering system.
There are many ways of producing images like that, and there’s no question the image is there, and finding out how the image is produced, is not going to give you an understanding of conscioueness at all, is going to be reverse engeneering on how that image is produced.
I think our brains, with all their very great complexity of circuitry, are capable of producing images in auditory system or visual system or somatosensory system . They are equivalent to the images that you can get through an engeneered device like an iPhone. 
The problem is that the iPhone is not conscious because it doesn’t have a life, it doesn’t have an organism at risk, it doesn’t have a platform that is there to regulate its life and to constitute the recipient, the interest party in everything that is going on in that mind at that point.


Antonio Damasio: How our brains feel emotion (2011)

“an emotion consists of a very well orchestrated set of alterations in the body that has, as a general purpose, making life more survivable by taking care of a danger, of taking care of an opportunity, either/or, or something in between.  And it’s something that is set in our genome and that we all have with a certain programmed nature that is modified by our experience so individually we have variations on the pattern. But in essence, your emotion of joy and mine are going to be extremely similar. “

” 20 years ago, I thought that the insular cortex would be an important platform for feelings, that’s where I started. And it was a hypothesis and it turns out that the hypothesis is perfectly correct. And 10 years ago, we had the first experiments that showed that it was indeed so, and since then, countless studies have shown that when you’re having feelings of an emotion or feelings of a variety of other things, the insular is active, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing that is active and there are other structures that are very important as well.”

“the esperiences of emotion also have a way of modeling what your going to do next… we have a possibility of using feelings of certain emotions for future planning and that makes a huge difference.”


an emotion is really about action and what emotion. the best definition that i can produce for you of emotions today (this in based on our understanding of the problem) is that it is a collection of automated actions. there are aimed at a particular effect, they will have importance for the regulation of life that automated package of actions you could call it an action program, is something that has been in your brain at birth obviously under the influence of a genome with the enormous 2009