In Michael Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences IV. pp. 1111-1123 (2009)

Ned Block
New York University
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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,979
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Meta-Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (9-10):6-61.
A Higher-Order Theory of Emotional Consciousness.Joseph LeDoux & Richard Brown - 2017 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (10):E2016-E2025.

View all 50 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Disunity of Consciousness.Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (3):378-95.
Theories of Consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):58-64.
The Gap Into Dissolution: The Real Story.Martin Kurthen - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):157-158.
Consciousness.Ned Block - 2004 - In R. L. Gregory (ed.), R. Gregory Oxford Companion to the Mind, Second Edition 2004. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
863 ( #7,877 of 2,504,877 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #60,503 of 2,504,877 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes