Introduction: Consciousness research at the end of the twentieth century


conscious content like ``the self in the act of In 1989 the philosopher Colin McGinn asked the knowing'' (see, e.g., chapters 7 and 20 in this following question: ``How can technicolor phe- volume) or high-level phenomenal properties like nomenology arise from soggy gray matter?'' ``coherence'' or ``holism'' (e.g., chapters 8 and 9 (1989: 349). Since then many authors in the ®eld in this volume). But what, precisely, does it mean of consciousness research have quoted this ques- that conscious experience has a ``content''? Is tion over and over, like a slogan that in a nut- this an entity open to empirical research pro- shell conveys a deep and important theoretical grams and interdisciplinary cooperation? And problem. It seems that almost none of them dis- what would it mean to map this content onto covered the subtle trap inherent in this question. physical states ``under a certain description''? In The brain is not gray. The brain is colorless. other words: What kinds of relations a

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Thomas Metzinger
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

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