A view of consciousness from the fringe

Velmans, Max. 1993. A view of consciousness from the fringe. Consciousness and Cognition, 2(3), pp. 137-141. ISSN 1053-8100 [Article]

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This paper evaluates Mangan’s (1993) analysis of the way feelings at the fringes of consciousness provide global evaluations of what is happening at the focus of attention in ways that allow the human mind to direct its activities in an effective, adaptive way—elaborating on a distinction between fringe consciousness and focal-attentive consciousness originally developed by William James. The paper argues that, while Mangan’s analysis is a plausible account of mental operations, viewed from a first-person perspective, it is inconsistent with a detailed account of human information processing viewed from a third-person perspective, which largely operates in an unconscious fashion. It also ignores classical problems relating to consciousness-brain causal interaction in philosophy of mind, and the subtlety different ways in which information processing can be said to be “conscious”. The paper then offers an alternative interpretation of the evidence (following Velmans, 1991) in which first- and third-person accounts of mental processing are complementary and mutually irreducible.

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12 Apr 2019 12:26

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12 Apr 2019 12:26

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