The Received Method for Ruling Out Brain Areas from Being NCC Undermines Itself

Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (9-10):145-69 (2015)
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Research into the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) aims to identify not just those brain areas that are NCC, but also those that are not. In the received method for ruling out a brain area from being an NCC, this is accomplished by showing a brain area’s content to be consistently absent from subjects’ reports about what they are experiencing. This paper points out how this same absence can be used to infer that the brain area’s content is cognitively inaccessible, in which case we would expect its content to be absent from subjects’ reports whether its content is (phenomenally) conscious or not. If so, such reports cannot count as evidence against that brain area being an NCC, and the received method fails. An alternative method (one suggested in Block, 2007) is considered.

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Benjamin Kozuch
University of Alabama


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