Two kinds of consciousness (p. 201)
External world consciousness
- requires sensation
- may be present in animals
- animals have a conscious mental life but they are not conscious of it
- requires both distinctness and memory
- involves “reflection and apprehension of the inner”
- object is not external objects but one’s own self and its states
Memory & distinctness (p. 210)
a sufficient echo of the perception in working memory renders the perception more distinct, and a sufficient amount of distinctness constitutes its being conscious.
only sufficiently distinct perceptions create an echo in memory long enough to be heard, and that echo in memory constitutes consciousness.
a perception’s being sufficiently distinct constitutes its being conscious and that makes it likely to be remembered in a quite ordinary sense of the term, viz., it is more likely to be consciously recalled later on.
Simmons advocates option C.
Memory & unity
Consciousness is essentially temporally extended or diachronic, hence memory is a necessary condition of consciousness because of the issue of keeping what is extended in such a way “together.”
Working memory and connection
I suggest that working memory involves the drawing of perceptual connections as well. In particular, it forges connections among the most distinct of our present perceptions, stitching them together into a unified conscious experience of the world. Distinctness makes some of our perceptions stand out, and so apt to be drawn into our conscious experience, but we do not have a unified conscious experience of an external world until they are stitched together. And this is a process that takes time. Working memory, if this is right, is not simply a matter of holding an especially distinct perception in place; it also involves linking that perception with other co-present perceptions to constitute a single experience of the world. (213)