Beyond the Neural Correlates of Consciousness

In U. Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
The centerpiece of the scientific study of consciousness is the search for the neural correlates of consciousness. Yet science is typically interested not only in discovering correlations, but also – and more deeply – in explaining them. When faced with a correlation between two phenomena in nature, we typically want to know why they correlate. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. The first half attempts to lay out the various possible explanations of the correlation between consciousness and its neural correlate – to provide a sort of “menu” of options from which we probably would ultimately have to choose. The second half raises considerations suggesting that, under certain reasonable assumptions, the choice among these various options may be in principle underdetermined by the relevant scientific evidence.
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