Comparing the major theories of consciousness

In Michael Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences IV. 1111-1123 (2009)
This article compares the three frameworks for theories of consciousness that are taken most seriously by neuroscientists, the view that consciousness is a biological state of the brain, the global workspace perspective and an account in terms of higher order states. The comparison features the “explanatory gap” (Nagel, 1974; Levine, 1983) the fact that we have no idea why the neural basis of an experience is the neural basis of that experience rather than another experience or no experience at all. It is argued that the biological framework handles the explanatory gap better than the global workspace of higher order views. The article does not discuss quantum theories or “panpsychist” accounts according to which consciousness is a feature of the smallest particles of inorganic matter (Chalmers, 1996; Rosenberg, 2004). Nor does it discuss the “representationist” proposals (Tye, 2000; Byrne, 2001a) that are popular among philosophers but not neuroscientists.
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Richard Brown (2012). The Myth of Phenomenological Overflow. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):599-604.

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