Laming (1992) identifies an ambiguity in my target article, where I associate consciousness with two functions -- planning on one hand and episodic memory on the other. I clarify these relationships by differentiating between the origin and the functioning of consciousness.
1.2 The access of episodic memory to plans being executed is the basis of the commonplace memory test of consciousness (Bridgeman 1992, para. 2.10). But what about qualia, and Laming's feeling that his own pain is different from his wife's? The key difference is that he is remembering an experience of pain that arose in his own senses, while his memory of her pain is of her reports only. Since fundamentally different things are being remembered (albeit with the same name), it is no surprise that the memories are different.
1.3 In the absence of memory, conscious experience cannot be proved to occur. This can be made clear with a dramatic example. The perfect general anesthetic need not cause unconsciousness or even deaden pain -- it must perform only two functions. The first is to inhibit motor reflexes, so that the patient does not jump up from the table. The second is to obliterate any memory of the experience. After the operation, when the anesthetic wears off, the doctor asks the patient how things went, and the patient says, "fine -- I didn't feel a thing." It does not matter that the patient experienced the most excruciating pain during the operation, as long as the perception does not become recorded in episodic memory. It is not the experience of pain that the anesthetic must deaden, but only its memory. In fact the drug scopolamine, once used commonly in childbirth, works on memory in this way.
1.4 Laming's constructive discussion of subplans and superplans emphasizes the hierarchical nature of plans, conjecturing (para. 5.4) that subplans need not have a special relationship with consciousness. The same property of subplans can be interpreted in terms of memory, where plans that organize low levels or that have become automatized do not gain a separate access to episodic memory. The rank of a particular schema in the subplan-superplan continuum depends on the other plans around it and on the degree of practice that has been devoted to it.
Bridgeman, B. (1992). On the Evolution of Consciousness and Language. PSYCOLOQUY 3(15) consciousness.1
Laming, Donald (1992) Some Commonsense About Consciousness: Commentary on Bridgeman on Consciousness. PSYCOLOQUY 3(23) consciousness.8