Philosophical Frontiers 3 (1):29-45 (2008)
The naturalistic voluntary control (VC) theory explains free will and consciousness in terms of each other. It is central to free voluntary control of action that one can control both what one is conscious of, and also what one is not conscious of. Furthermore, the specific cognitive ability or skill involved in voluntarily controlling whether information is processed consciously or unconsciously can itself be used to explain consciousness. In functional terms, it is whatever kind of cognitive processing occurs when a conscious state is voluntarily chosen. This leads to a bivalent view of cognitive processing in which there is voluntary choice either of non-routine (conscious) or routine (unconscious) kinds of processing. On this VC account, consciousness could not exist without its being possible to voluntarily choose a non-routine kind of processing.
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