Manipulating the Contents of Consciousness

Proceedings of the 37th Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (2015)
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I argue for a manipulationist-mechanistic framework for content-NCC research in the case of visual consciousness (Bechtel 2008; Neisser 2012). Reference to mechanisms is common in the NCC research. Furthermore, recent developments in non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS) lend support to a manipulationist standpoint. The crucial question is to understand what is changed after manipulation of a brain mechanism. In the second part of the paper I review the literature on intentionalism, and argue that intervention on the neural mechanism is likely to change the intentional content of consciousness. This urges us to shift from content-NCC to what I call “intentional mechanisms”. Such mechanisms, it is argued, should be understood as neural prerequisites of conscious visual experience.

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Alfredo Vernazzani
Ruhr-Universität Bochum


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