David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):180-198 (2004)
Cognitive neuroscience aspires to explain how the brain produces conscious states. Many people think this aspiration is threatened by the subjective nature of introspective reports, as well as by certain philosophical arguments. We propose that good neuroscientific explanations of conscious states can consolidate an interpretation of introspective reports, in spite of their subjective nature. This is because the relative quality of explanations can be evaluated on independent, methodological grounds. To illustrate, we review studies that suggest that aspects of the feeling of being in control of one's bodily movement can be explained in terms of the complex and surprising way the brain predicts movement. This is a modest type of functional, contrastive explanation. Though we do not refute the threatening philosophical arguments, we show that they do not apply to this type of explanation.
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Chris Frith (2005). The Self in Action: Lessons From Delusions of Control. Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):752-770.
Jakob Hohwy (2007). The Search for Neural Correlates of Consciousness. Philosophy Compass 2 (3):461–474.
Thor Grünbaum (2011). Perception and Non-Inferential Knowledge of Action. Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):153 - 167.
Pascal Boyer, Philip Robbins & Anthony I. Jack (2005). Varieties of Self-Systems Worth Having. Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):647-660.
Jakob Hohwy (2011). Mind–Brain Identity and Evidential Insulation. Philosophical Studies 26 (3):261-286.
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