The functional role of consciousness: A phenomenological approach

Abstract
In this paper, a theoretical account of the functional role of consciousness in the cognitive system of normal subjects is developed. The account is based upon an approach to consciousness that is drawn from the phenomenological tradition. On this approach, consciousness is essentially peripheral self-awareness, in a sense to be duly explained. It will be argued that the functional role of consciousness, so construed, is to provide the subject with just enough information about her ongoing experience to make it possible for her to easily obtain as much information as she may need. The argument for this account of consciousness' functional role will proceed in three main stages. First, the phenomenological approach to consciousness as peripheral self-awareness will be expounded and endorsed. Second, an account of the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness will be offered. Finally, the account of the functional role of peripheral self-awareness will be obtained by straightforward extension from the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness
Keywords Attention  Consciousness  Intentionality  Metaphysics  Phenomenology  Self-awareness
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Evan Thompson & Dan Zahavi (2007). Phenomenology. In P.D. Zelazo, Morris Moscovitch & Evan Thompson (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness. Cambridge.
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