|Abstract||The question of whether conscious experience has any functional purpose depends on a more fundamental issue concerning the nature of conscious experience. In particular, whether the world of experience is the external world itself, as suggested by direct realism, or whether it is merely a virtual- reality replica of that world in an internal representation, as in indirect realism, or representationalism. There is an epistemological problem with the notion of direct realism, for we cannot be consciously aware of objects beyond the sensory surface. Therefore the world of experience can only be an internal replica of the external world. This in turn validates a phenomenological approach to studying the nature of the perceptual representation in the brain. Phenomenology reveals that the representational strategy employed in the brain is an analogical one, in which objects are represented in the brain by constructing full spatial replicas of those objects in an internal representation|
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