Homunculus

Short Film

Cartesian Theater

APA Dictionary of Psychology

"A metaphorical conception of consciousness identified as the traditional view by U.S. philosopher Daniel C. Dennett (1942–  ), who has challenged its adequacy. Based on the idea of the knowing subject or ego defined by René Descartes, the Cartesian theater is envisioned as a place where all aspects of experience come together to provide a unified phenomenal world. See Cartesian dualismCartesian self."

The Homunculus is an imagined figure- created to critique in physical terms the validity of the conception of the 'soul' or 'consciousness' implicit to Cartesian dualism- or the idea that the mind and body are two distinct entities- that is a central presupposition to a range of western philosophical and theological dogma. Such a viewpoint imposes the recursive notion that there is some non-tangible 'other' mental self that controls our body like a pilot in a cockpit. Of course, this does not answer the question of consciousness, but merely removes the problem by one level- after all, who pilots the pilot?