Why is there sentience? A temporo-spatial approach to consciousness

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The target paper postulates sentience as a more basic and fundamental dimension of consciousness. Why and how is there sentience? In my commentary I address this question. Reviewing different lines of data, I propose that temporo-spatial mechanisms of how the brain constructs its own spontaneous activity are key for making possible the capacity to feel, namely sentience. This amounts to what we described as the ‘temporo-spatial theory of consciousness’ (TTC) (Northoff and Huang 2017; Northoff and Lamme, 2020). This leads me to postulate specific neuro-ecological and neuro-visceral mechanisms that are, in their most basic nature, intrinsically temporospatial. Why do we have the capacity to feel and thus for sentience? Because our brain continuously integrates the different inputs from body and environment within its own ongoing temporo-spatial matrix. Our brain is temporo-spatial and hence neuro-ecological and neurobodily which provides the capacity to feel, i.e. sentience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence


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