Conscious states and conscious creatures: Explanation in the scientific study of consciousness

Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):1–22 (2007)
Abstract
Explanation does not exist in a metaphysical vacuum. Conceptions of the structure of a phenomenon play an important role in guiding attempts to explain it, and erroneous conceptions of a phenomenon may direct investigation in misleading directions. I believe that there is a case to be made for thinking that much work on the neural underpinnings of consciousness—what is often called the neural correlates of consciousness—is driven by an erroneous conception of the structure of consciousness. The aim of this paper is lay bare some connections between the explanation of consciousness and the structure of consciousness, and to argue for a conception of the structure of consciousness that is more adequate than that which currently drives much research into the neural correlates of consciousness.
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