Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Open Peer Commentary
O'Brien & Opie: Connectionism and phenomenal experience

Stability and explicitness: In defense of implicit representation


Axel Cleeremans a1 and Luis Jiménez a2
a1 Cognitive Science Research Unit, Université Libre de Bruxelles CP 122, 1050 Brussels, Belgium axcleer@ulb.ac.be http://srsc.ulb.ac.be/axc www/axc.html
a2 Department of Psychology, Universidad de Santiago, 15706 Santiago, Spain jimenez@usc.es

Abstract

Stability of activation, while it may be necessary for information to become available to consciousness, is not sufficient to produce phenomenal experience. We suggest that consciousness involves access to information and that access makes information symbolic. From this perspective, implicit representations exist, and are best thought of as subsymbolic. Crucially, such representations can be causally efficacious in the absence of consciousness.