Analyzing the etiological functions of consciousness

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (1):191-216 (2020)
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Abstract

Scientists disagree about which capacities a functional analysis of consciousness should target. To address this disagreement, I propose that a good functional analysis should target the etiological functions of consciousness. The trouble is that most hypotheses about the etiological origins of consciousness presuppose particular functional analyses. In recent years, however, a small number of scientists have begun to offer evolutionary hypotheses that are relatively theory neutral. I argue that their hypotheses can serve an independent standard for evaluating among theories of consciousness.

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Dylan Black
Xi'an Jiao Tong University