If plans are to become the highest level of control in nervous systems, it is important to think carefully about what they imply. I suggested that there need be no box labelled "consciousness" in the brain, because consciousness is the name we give to the process of executing plans.
2. I suggested that there need be no box labelled "consciousness" in the brain, because consciousness is the name we give to the process of executing plans. Andreae (2.1) goes further to suggest that "there is probably no box labelled `plan' either". But we know that such a box exists: we have seen it, and some of its precursors, in various parts of the frontal lobe. We know where the structures are, and we know what happens to mental life when they are damaged.
3. Andreae's idea (para. 2.2) of speech as having only one level to handle its many functional levels is an appealing one, analogous to the power of modern `flat' databases. Since everything is at the same level, everything is equally accessible. But plans cannot be expanded to include the actions and intentions of others (para. 3.1). These are perceived, coming into the nervous system through afferent sensory channels. The perceptions can be incorporated into plans, and some special perceptions of the plans of others might be swallowed whole and incorporated into new plans, but their source must be kept distinct from internally produced plans.
4. Andreae's commentary concentrates on plans, considered as the center of a psychology that would explain behavior and experience. But almost everything about plans in the target article came from Miller, Galanter & Pribram (1960) and Pribram (1971). It was necessary to review them to set the stage for consciousness and language. Miller et al. introduced plans in terms of cybernetic models from the 1950s, but their value is undiminished in contemporary contexts. And the general concept had precursors in the German psychology of the previous generation. Perhaps it is necessary to re-introduce plans in each generation.
Andreae, John H. (1992) Robots Need Not Be Conscious: Commentary on Bridgeman on Consciousness. PSYCOLOQUY 3(18) consciousness.2
Miller, G. A., Galanter, E. H. & Pribram, K. H. (1960) Plans and the Structure of Behavior. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.
Pribram, K. H. (1971) Languages of the Brain. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.