Neural activation, information, and phenomenal consciousness

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):172-173 (1999)
Max Velmans
Goldsmiths College, University of London
This is an open peer commentary on O’Brien & Opie (1999) “A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience”, published as a target article in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. O’Brien & Opie defend a “vehicle” rather than a “process” theory of consciousness largely on the grounds that only conscious information is “explicit”. I argue that preconscious and unconscious representations can be functionally explicit (semantically well-formed and causally active). I also suggest that their analysis of how neural activation space mirrors the information structure of phenomenal experience fits more naturally into a dual-aspect theory of information than into their reductive physicalism.
Keywords consciousness  neural networks  phenomenal consciousness  neural correlates of consciousness  neural information processing  dual-aspect theory  physicalism
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DOI 10.1017/S0140525X99491794
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