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8.1f. Consciousness and Neuroscience, Foundational Issues (Consciousness and Neuroscience, Foundational Issues on PhilPapers)

See also:
Antoine, Lutz; Thompson E., Lutz & Cosmelli, D. (online). Neurophenomenology: An introduction for neurophilosophers in cognition and the brain : The philosophy and neuroscience movement.   (Google)
Atlas, Jay David, Qualia, consciousness, and memory: Dennett (2005), Rosenthal (2002), Ledoux (2002), and Libet (2004).   (Google)
Abstract: In his recent (2005) book "Sweet Dreams: philosophical obstacles to a science of consciousness," Dennett renews his attack on a philosophical notion of qualia, the success of which attack is required if his brand of Functionalism is to survive. He also articulates once again what he takes to be essential to his notion of consciousness. I shall argue that his new, central argument against the philosophical concept of qualia fails. In passing I point out a difficulty that David Rosenthal's "higher-order thought" theory of consciousness also faces in accounting for qualia. I then contrast Dennett's newest account of consciousness with interestingly different conceptions by contemporary neuro-scientists, and I suggest that philosophers should take the recent suggestions by neuro-scientists more seriously as a subject for philosophical investigation
Baars, Bernard J. & McGovern, Katharine A. (2000). Consciousness cannot be limited to sensory qualities: Some empirical counterexamples. Neuro-Psychoanalysis 2 (1):11-13.   (Google)
Baars, Bernard J. (2001). How could brain imaging not tell us about consciousness? Journal Of Consciousness Studies 8 (3):24-29.   (Google)
Baars, Bernard J. & Laureys, Steven (2005). One, not two, neural correlates of consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (6):269.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Baars, Bernard J. (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: A stew of confusion. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):29-31.   (Google)
Baars, Bernard J. (2005). Subjective experience is probably not limited to humans: The evidence from neurobiology and behavior. Consciousness and Cognition 14 (1):7-21.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Baars, Bernard J. (2001). The brain basis of a "consciousness monitor": Scientific and medical significance. Consciousness and Cognition 10 (2):159-164.   (Google)
Abstract: Surgical patients under anesthesia can wake up unpredictably and be exposed to intense, traumatic pain. Current medical techniques cannot maintain depth of anesthesia at a perfectly stable and safe level; the depth of unconsciousness may change from moment to moment. Without an effective consciousness monitor anesthesiologists may not be able to adjust dosages in time to protect patients from pain. An estimated 40,000 to 200,000 midoperative awakenings may occur in the United States annually. E. R. John and coauthors present the scientific basis of a practical ''consciousness monitor'' in two articles. One article is empirical and shows widespread and consistent electrical field changes across subjects and anesthetic agents as soon as consciousness is lost; these changes reverse when consciousness is regained afterward. These findings form the basis of a surgical consciousness monitor that recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This may be the first practical application of research on the brain basis of consciousness. The other John article suggests theoretical explanations at three levels, a neurophysiological account of anesthesia, a neural dynamic account of conscious and unconscious states, and an integrative field theory. Of these, the neurophysiology is the best understood. Neural dynamics is evolving rapidly, with several alternative points of view. The field theory sketched here is the most novel and controversial
Bayne, Timothy J. (2004). Closing the gap: Some questions for neurophenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (4):349-64.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   In his 1996 paper Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem, Francisco Varela called for a union of Husserlian phenomenology and cognitive science. Varela''s call hasn''t gone unanswered, and recent years have seen the development of a small but growing literature intent on exploring the interface between phenomenology and cognitive science. But despite these developments, there is still some obscurity about what exactly neurophenomenology is. What are neurophenomenologists trying to do, and how are they trying to do it? To what extent is neurophenomenology a distinctive and unified research programme? In this paper I attempt to shed some light on these questions
Bayne, Timothy J. (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: Phenomenal holism, internalism, and the neural correlates of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):32-37.   (Google)
Bayne, Timothy J. (2004). Phenomenal holism, internalism, and the NCC. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1).   (Google)
Bayne, Timothy J. (2004). Phenomenal holism, internalism and the neural correlates of consciousness: Comment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):32-37.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Bickle, John (2005). Phenomenology and cortical microstimulation. In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Birnbacher, Dieter (2006). Causal interpretations of correlations between neural and conscious events. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (1-2):115-128.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The contribution argues that causal interpretations of empirical correlations between neural and conscious events are meaningful even if not fully verifiable and that there are reasons in favour of an epiphenomenalist construction of psychophysical causality. It is suggested that an account of causality can be given that makes interactionism, epiphenomenalism and Leibnizian parallelism semantically distinct interpretations of the phenomena. Though neuroscience cannot strictly prove or rule out any one of these interpretations it can be argued that methodological principles favour a causal interpretation on epiphenomenalist lines, both for reasons of metaphysical parsimony and for reasons of coherence with established physical principles such as the conservation of energy. In the concluding chapter, some of the philosophical and the empirical challenges following from this model are outlined, the most important being closer scrutiny of the neurophysiological processes accompanying conscious volition
Bisiach, E. (1988). The (haunted) brain and consciousness. In Anthony J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (eds.), Consciousness in Contemporary Science. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 30 | Annotation | Google)
Block, Ned (web). Consciousness, accessibility, and the mesh between psychology and neuroscience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: How can we disentangle the neural basis of phenomenal consciousness from the neural machinery of the cognitive access that underlies reports of phenomenal consciousness? We can see the problem in stark form if we ask how we could tell whether representations inside a Fodorian module are phenomenally conscious. The methodology would seem straightforward: find the neural natural kinds that are the basis of phenomenal consciousness in clear cases when subjects are completely confident and we have no reason to doubt their authority, and look to see whether those neural natural kinds exist within Fodorian modules. But a puzzle arises: do we include the machinery underlying reportability within the neural natural kinds of the clear cases? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then there can be no phenomenally conscious representations in Fodorian modules. But how can we know if the answer is ‘Yes’? The suggested methodology requires an answer to the question it was supposed to answer! The paper argues for an abstract solution to the problem and exhibits a source of empirical data that is relevant, data that show that in a certain sense phenomenal consciousness overflows cognitive accessibility. The paper argues that we can find a neural realizer of this overflow if assume that the neural basis of phenomenal consciousness does not include the neural basis of cognitive accessibility and that this assumption is justified (other things equal) by the explanations it allows
Block, Ned (2001). How not to find the neural correlate of consciousness. In The Foundations of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: There are two concepts of consciousness that are easy to confuse with one another, access-consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. However, just as the concepts of water and H2O are different concepts of the same thing, so the two concepts of consciousness may come to the same thing in the brain. The focus of this paper is on the problems that arise when these two concepts of consciousness are conflated. I will argue that John Searle’s reasoning about the function of consciousness goes wrong because he conflates the two senses. And Francis Crick and Christof Koch fall afoul of the ambiguity in arguing that visual area V1 is not part of the neural correlate of consciousness. Crick and Koch’s work raises issues that suggest that these two concepts of consciousness may have different (though overlapping) neural correlates--despite Crick and Koch’s implicit rejection of this idea
Block, Ned (1998). How to find the neural correlate of consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Block, Ned (2005). The merely verbal problem of consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (6):270.   (Google)
Block, Ned (2003). Tactile sensation via spatial perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7:285-286.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Boyle, Noel (2008). Neurobiology and phenomenology: Towards a three-tiered intertheoretic model of explanation. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (3):34-58.   (Google)
Abstract: Analytic and continental philosophies of mind are too long divided. In both traditions there is extensive discussion of consciousness, the mind-body problem, intentionality, subjectivity, perception (especially visual) and so on. Between these two discussions there are substantive disagreements, overlapping points of insight, meaningful differences in emphasis, and points of comparison which seems to offer nothing but confusion. In other words, there are the ideal circumstances for doing philosophy. Yet, there has been little discourse. This paper invites expanding discourse between these two philosophical traditions. The first part briefly describes the existing literature which works across the analytic- phenomenology divide, situating my work within it as a focus on analytic physicalism and phenomenal explanation. In the longer second part, I sketch a model for explanation embedded simultaneously in both traditions. Hopefully, a theoretical framework emerges that the unlikely combination of Maurice Merleau- Ponty and Patricia Churchland could accept. In the third part, I apply the three-tiered model to a discussion of plasticity and suggest that the model both reflects existing research across three levels of analysis and can be a fruitful way to approach future research. My suggestion for a three-tiered model is quite tentative. Much less tentative is my claim that constructive dialogue between phenomeno- logical and physicalist study of consciousness is long-overdue, illuminating, and practical
Buck, R. (1993). What is this thing called subjective experience? Reflections on the neuropsychology of qualia. Neuropsychology 7:490-99.   (Cited by 16 | Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1998). On the search for the neural correlate of consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A.C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Abstract: *[[This paper appears in _Toward a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates_ (S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak, and A.Scott, eds), published with MIT Press in 1998. It is a transcript of my talk at the second Tucson conference in April 1996, lightly edited to include the contents of overheads and to exclude some diversions with a consciousness meter. A more in-depth argument for some of the claims in this paper can be found in Chapter 6 of my book _The Conscious Mind_ (Chalmers, 1996). ]]
Chalmers, David J. (2000). What is a neural correlate of consciousness? In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Cited by 79 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The search for neural correlates of consciousness (or NCCs) is arguably the cornerstone in the recent resurgence of the science of consciousness. The search poses many difficult empirical problems, but it seems to be tractable in principle, and some ingenious studies in recent years have led to considerable progress. A number of proposals have been put forward concerning the nature and location of neural correlates of consciousness. A few of these include
Churchland, Paul M. (2005). Chimerical colors: Some phenomenological predictions from cognitive neuroscience. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):527-560.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Hurvich-Jameson (H-J) opponent-process network offers a familiar account of the empirical structure of the phenomenological color space for humans, an account with a number of predictive and explanatory virtues. Its successes form the bulk of the existing reasons for suggesting a strict identity between our various color sensations on the one hand, and our various coding vectors across the color-opponent neurons in our primary visual pathways on the other. But anti-reductionists standardly complain that the systematic parallels discovered by the H-J network are just empirical correspondences, constructed post facto, with no predictive or explanatory purchase on the intrinsic characters of qualia proper. The present paper disputes that complaint, by illustrating that the H-J model yields some novel and unappreciated predictions, and some novel and unappreciated explanations, concerning the qualitative characters of a considerable variety of color sensations possible for human experience, color sensations that normal people have almost certainly never had before, color sensations whose accurate descriptions in ordinary language appear semantically ill-formed or even self-contradictory. Specifically, these "impossible" color sensations are activation-vectors (across our opponent-process neurons) that lie inside the space of neuronally possible activation-vectors, but outside the central 'color spindle' that confines the familiar range of sensations for possible objective colors. These extra-spindle chimerical-color sensations correspond to no reflective color that you will ever see objectively displayed on a physical object. But the H-J model both predicts their existence and explains their highly anomalous qualitative characters in some detail. It also suggests how to produce these rogue sensations by a simple procedure made available in the latter half of this paper. The relevant color plates will allow you to savor these sensations for yourself
Churchland, Patricia S. (1994). Can neurobiology teach us anything about consciousness? Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 67 (4):23-40.   (Cited by 24 | Google)
Churchland, Patricia S. (1988). Reduction and the neurobiological basis of consciousness. In Anthony J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (eds.), Consciousness in Contemporary Science. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 25 | Google)
Clapson, Philip (2001). Consciousness: The organismic approach. Neuro-Psychoanalysis 3 (2):203-220.   (Google)
Clark, Austen (forthcoming). Vicissitudes of consciousness, varieties of correlates: Review of The Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Questions. American Journal of Psychology.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: and denotes a number of different phenomena. We reason about “consciousness” using some premises that apply to one of the..
Cleeremans, Axel & Haynes, John (1999). Correlating consciousness: A vew from empirical science. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 3 (209):387-420.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Research on consciousness is currently enjoying a spectacular revival of interest in the cognitive sciences. From an empirical point of view, the NCC program — the search for the “Neural Correlates of Consciousness” — holds the promise of establishing correlations between physiological and phenomenal states in a way that directly resembles G. T. Fechner´s (1860) so-called “inner psychophysics”. Should the NCC program be entirely successful, we would thus be able to predict phenomenal states based on physiological states. we would be able to predict phenomenal states based on physiological states. In this paper, we explore some of the conceptual and methodological difficulties of this approach. In both neurobiology and psychology, there are serious measurement problems that stand in the way of correlation research, even after the “hard problem” has been set aside. Thus, even if one had identified certain internal functional states as indicators of phenomenal states, the empirical psychologist would still be confronted with fundamental problems, such as determining the absence or presence of these functional states. In this respect, philosophy of science may help and provide a metatheoretical framework for the current interdisciplinary project
Cobb, S. (1952). On the nature and locus of mind. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 67:172-7.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Creutzfeld, O. D. (1987). Inevitable deadlocks of the brain-mind discussion. In B. Gulyas (ed.), The Brain-Mind Problem: Philosophical and Neurophyiological Approaches. Leuven University Press.   (Google)
Crick, Francis & Koch, Christof (2003). A framework for consciousness. Nature Neuroscience 6:119-26.   (Cited by 196 | Google | More links)
Crick, Francis & Koch, Christof (2000). The Unconscious Homunculus. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Vimal, Ram Lakhan Pandey (2009). Dual Aspect Framework for Consciousness and Its Implications: West meets East for Sublimation Process. In G. Derfer, Z. Wang & M. Weber (eds.), The Roar of Awakening. A Whiteheadian Dialogue Between Western Psychotherapies and Eastern Worldviews. Ontos Verlag.   (Google)
Abstract: Previously (Vimal, 2009b) in Whitehead Psychology Nexus Studies, we discussed (i) the dual-aspect-dual-mode proto-experience (PE)-subjective experience (SE) framework of consciousness based on neuroscience, (ii) its implication in war, suffering, peace, and happiness, (iii) the process of sublimation for optimizing them and converting the negative aspects of seven groups of self-protective energy system (desire, anger, ego, greed, attachment, jealousy, and selfish-love) into their positive aspects from both western and eastern perspectives. In this article, we summarize the recent development since then as follows. (1) In (Vimal, 2009e), we rigorously investigated the classical and quantum matching and selection processes for precisely experiencing a specific SE in a specific neural-network. (2) In (Vimal, 2009i), we unpacked the quantum view of superposition related to the superposition-based hypothesis H1 of our framework in terms of subquantum dual-aspect primal entities (bhutatmas) and addressed the related explanatory gaps. (3) In, we developed alternative hypotheses of our framework, namely, the superposition-then-integration-emergence based H2, the integration-emergence based H3, the intelligent mechanism based H4, and the vacuum/Aether based H5. We concluded that our framework with H1 is the most optimal one because it has the least number of problems (Vimal, 2009j). (4) In, we found over 40 different but overlapping meanings attributed to the term ‘consciousness’ and suggested that authors must specify which aspect of consciousness they refer to when using this term to minimize confusion (Vimal, 2009f). (5) In, we proposed definitions of consciousness, qualia, mind, and awareness (Vimal, 2009h). (6) In, we investigated the necessary ingredients for access (reportable) consciousness: wakefulness, re-entry, attention, working memory and so on (Vimal, 2009g). (7) In, we discussed Nāgārjuna’s philosophy of dependent co-origination with respect to our PE-SE framework (Vimal, 2009a). (8) In, we linked dynamic systems theory and fractal catalytic theory with standard representation theory using our framework (Vimal, 2009d). (9) In, we introduce the PE-SE aspects of consciousness in theoretical classical and quantum physics including loop quantum gravity and string theory (Vimal, 2009k). (10) In (Vimal, 2009c), we proposed that the SE of subject or ‘self’ in self-related neural-network is tuned to the self-related SEs/PEs superposed in other innumerable entities during samadhi state via matching and selection processes. This leads to bliss, ecstasy, or exceptionally high degree of climax at samadhi state. We conclude that, so far, the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework with hypothesis H1 is the most optimal framework for explaining our conventional reality because it has the least number of problems.
Dalton, Thomas C. (1998). The developmental gap in phenomenal experience: A comment on J. G. Taylor's "cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. J:Consciousness and cognition 7 (2):159-164. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):159-164.   (Google)
Abstract: J. G. Taylor advances an empirically testable local neural network model to understand the neural correlates of phenomenal experience. Taylor's model is better able to explain the presence (i.e., persistence, latency, and seamlessness) and unity of phenomenal consciousness which support the idea that consciousness is coherent, undivided, and centered. However, Taylor fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of the nonlinear relationship between local and global neural systems. In addition, the ontological assumptions that PE is immediate, intrinsic, and incorrigible limit an understanding of the different experiential forms consciousness takes during neurobehavioral development. Recent studies suggest that neurobehavioral development is discontinuous and that judgment emerges under conditions of uncertainty to render feeling and perception in equivalent terms of energy and behavior. Approaching the problem of phenomenal experience from a developmental perspective may help resolve the paradox of feeling infinitely close as well as distant from one's self
de JongLooren, Huib (1996). Brain waves and bridges: Comments on Hardcastle's Discovering the Moment of Consciousness?. Philosophical Psychology 9 (2):197-209.   (Google)
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Abstract: A frequent criticism of the neuroscientific approach to consciousness is that its theories describe only 'correlates' or 'analogues' of consciousness, and so fail to address the nature of consciousness itself. Despite its apparent logical simplicity, this criticism in fact relies on some substantive assumptions about the nature and evolution of scientific explanations. In particular, it is usually assumed that, in expressing correlations, neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) theories must fail to capture the causal structure relating brain and mind. Drawing on work in the history and philosophy of science, I argue that this assumption - along with the related claim that even a correct NCC theory would fail to explain consciousness - is grounded in an inadequate conception of the way in which scientific explanations develop. Examination of parallel developments in 20th century biology reveals that, under the right circumstances, seemingly crude correspondences can play an essential role in scientific discovery and can sometimes become central to our everyday understanding of the phenomena in question. A proper understanding of this process clarifies the value of NCC theories and sheds light on the standards by which they should be evaluated. In closing, I describe two specific criteria for evaluating NCC proposals: intertheoretic bridge potential and detailed mapping
Fingelkurts, Alexander A.; Fingelkurts, Andrew A.; Kallio, Sakari & Revonsuo, Antti (2007). HYPNOSIS INDUCES A CHANGED COMPOSITION OF BRAIN OSCILLATIONS IN EEG: A CASE STUDY. Contemporary Hypnosis 24 (1):3-18.   (Google)
Abstract: Cognitive functions associated with the frontal lobes of the brain may be specifi cally involved in hypnosis. Thus, the frontal area of the brain has recently been of great interest when searching for neural changes associated with hypnosis. We tested the hypothesis that EEG during pure hypnosis would differ from the normal non-hypnotic EEG especially above the frontal area of the brain. The composition of brain oscillations was examined in a broad frequency band (130 Hz) in the electroencephalogram (EEG) of a single virtuoso subject. Data was collected in two independent data collection periods separated by one year. The hypnotic and non-hypnotic conditions were repeated multiple times during each data acquisition session. We found that pure hypnosis induced reorganization in the composition of brain oscillations especially in prefrontal and right occipital EEG channels. Additionally, hypnosis was characterized by consistent rightside-dominance asymmetry. In the prefrontal EEG channels the composition of brain oscillations included spectral patterns during hypnosis that were completely different from those observed during non-hypnosis. Furthermore, the EEG spectral patterns observed overall during the hypnotic condition did not return to the pre-hypnotic baseline EEG immediately when hypnosis was terminated. This suggests that for the brain, the return to a normal neurophysiological baseline condition after hypnosis is a time-consuming process. The present results suggest that pure hypnosis is characterized by an increase in alertness and heightened attention, refl ected as cognitive and neuronal activation. Taken together, the present data provide support for the hypothesis that in a very highly hypnotizable person (a hypnotic virtuoso) hypnosis as such may be accompanied by a changed pattern of neural activity in the brain.
Fingelkurts, Andrew A.; Fingelkurts, Alexander A. & Neves, Carlos F. H. (2010). Natural World Physical, Brain Operational, and Mind Phenomenal Space-Time. Physics of Life Reviews 7 (2):195-249.   (Google)
Abstract: Concepts of space and time are widely developed in physics. However, there is a considerable lack of biologically plausible theoretical frameworks that can demonstrate how space and time dimensions are implemented in the activity of the most complex life-system – the brain with a mind. Brain activity is organized both temporally and spatially, thus representing space-time in the brain. Critical analysis of recent research on the space-time organization of the brain’s activity pointed to the existence of so-called operational space-time in the brain. This space-time is limited to the execution of brain operations of differing complexity. During each such brain operation a particular short-term spatio-temporal pattern of integrated activity of different brain areas emerges within related operational space-time. At the same time, to have a fully functional human brain one needs to have a subjective mental experience. Current research on the subjective mental experience offers detailed analysis of space-time organization of the mind. According to this research, subjective mental experience (subjective virtual world) has definitive spatial and temporal properties similar to many physical phenomena. Based on systematic review of the propositions and tenets of brain and mind space-time descriptions, our aim in this review essay is to explore the relations between the two. To be precise, we would like to discuss the hypothesis that via the brain operational space-time the mind subjective space-time is connected to otherwise distant physical space-time reality.
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Abstract: Spelling out in detail what we do and do not know about phenomenological experience, this book denies the common view of consciousness as a central decision...
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: Situated reductionism, or how to be an internalist and an externalist at the same time. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):39-42.   (Google)
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Abstract: Most consciousness researchers, almost no matter what their views of the metaphysics of consciousness, can agree that the first step in a science of consciousness is the search for the neural correlate of consciousness (the NCC). The reason for this agreement is that the notion of ‘correlation’ doesn’t by itself commit one to any particular metaphysical view about the relation between (neural) matter and consciousness. For example, some might treat the correlates as causally related, while others might view the correlation as evidence for identity between conscious states and brain states. The common ground therefore seems to be that the scientific search for the NCC is largely independent of the metaphysics of consciousness
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Hurley, Susan L. & Noe, Alva (2003). Neural plasticity and consciousness: Reply to Block. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):342.   (Cited by 68 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Susan Hurley Susan Hurley Susan Hurley Susan Hurley1111 andAlva Noë andAlva Noë andAlva Noë andAlva Noë2222
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Abstract: Since Francis Crick popularized the term `Neural Correlate of Consciousness' (NCC), it has been the focus of what is perhaps the most exciting research area in the cognitive sciences. Different researchers and laboratories have offered different brain structures as candidates for the NCC prize. Different chunks of gray matter have been identified as the potential seat of consciousness. Some researchers attempt to identify the NCC via a characterization of the cognitive aspects of consciousness, such as its functional significance or intentional directedness, while others attempt a direct identification of the NCC, without any cognitive intermediary. Needless to say, no consensus is in sight on any of this
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Abstract: Current neurobiological research on temporal binding in binocular rivalry settings contributes to a better understanding of the neural correlate of perceptual consciousness. This research can easily be integrated into a theory of conscious behavior, but if it is meant to promote a naturalistic theory of perceptual consciousness itself, it is confronted with the notorious explanatory gap argument according to which any statement of psychophysical correlations (and their interpretation) leaves the phenomenal character of, e.g., states of perceptual consciousness open. It is argued that research on temporal binding plays no role in a naturalistic theory of consciousness if the gap argument can be solved on internal philosophical grounds or if it turns out to be unsolvable at the time being. But there may be a way to dissolve or deconstruct it, and the accessibility of this way may well depend on scientific progress, including neurobiological research on the neural correlate of perceptual consciousness
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Abstract: & Functional brain imaging offers new opportunities for the begin with single-subject (preprocessed) scan series, and study of that most pervasive of cognitive conditions, human consider the patterns of all voxels as potential multivariate consciousness. Since consciousness is attendant to so much encodings of phenomenal information. Twenty-seven subjects of human cognitive life, its study requires secondary analysis from the four studies were analyzed with multivariate of multiple experimental datasets. Here, four preprocessed methods, revealing analogues of phenomenal structures, datasets from the National fMRI Data Center are considered: particularly the structures of temporality. In a second Hazeltine et al., Neural activation during response competi- interpretive approach, artificial neural networks were used tion; Ishai et al., The representation of objects in the human to detect a more explicit prediction from phenomenology, occipital and temporal cortex; Mechelli et al., The effects of namely, that present experience contains and is inflected by presentation rate during word and pseudoword reading; and past states of awareness and anticipated events. In all of 21 Postle et al., Activity in human frontal cortex associated with subjects in this analysis, nets were successfully trained to spatial working memory and saccadic behavior. The study of extract aspects of relative past and future brain states, in consciousness also draws from multiple disciplines. In this comparison with statistically similar controls. This exploratory article, the philosophical subdiscipline of phenomenology study thus concludes that the proposed methods for provides initial characterization of phenomenal structures ‘‘neurophenomenology’’ warrant further application, includ- conceptually necessary for an analysis of consciousness. These ing the exploration of individual differences, multivariate structures include phenomenal intentionality, phenomenal differences between cognitive task conditions, and explora- superposition, and experienced temporality..
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Abstract: The neurophilosophy of consciousness brings neuroscience to bear on philosophical issues concerning phenomenal consciousness, especially issues concerning what makes mental states conscious, what it is that we are conscious of, and the nature of the phenomenal character of conscious states. Here attention is given largely to phenomenal consciousness as it arises in vision. The relevant neuroscience concerns not only neurophysiological and neuroanatomical data, but also computational models of neural networks. The neurophilosophical theories that bring such data to bear on the core philosophical issues of phenomenal conscious construe consciousness largely in terms of representations in neural networks associated with certain processes of attention and memory
McLaughlin, Brian P. & Bartlett, Gary (2004). Have Noe and Thompson cast doubt on the neural correlates of consciousness programme? Comment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):56-67.   (Google)
McLauglin, B. & Bartlett, Gary (2004). Have Noe and Thompson cast doubt on the NCC programme? Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):29-86.   (Google)
McLaughlin, Brian P. & Bartlett, Gary (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: Have Noe and Thompson cast doubt on the neural correlates of consciousness programme? Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):56-67.   (Google)
Metzinger, Thomas (2004). Peer commentary on "are there neural correlates of consciousness": Appearance is not knowledge: The incoherent straw man, content-content confusions and mindless conscious subjects. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):67-72.   (Google)
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Noë, Alva & Thompson, Evan (2004). Are there neural correlates of consciousness? Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):3-28.   (Cited by 44 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In the past decade, the notion of a neural correlate of consciousness (or NCC) has become a focal point for scientific research on consciousness (Metzinger, 2000a). A growing number of investigators believe that the first step toward a science of consciousness is to discover the neural correlates of consciousness. Indeed, Francis Crick has gone so far as to proclaim that ‘we … need to discover the neural correlates of consciousness.… For this task the primate visual system seems especially attractive.… No longer need one spend time attempting … to endure the tedium of philosophers perpetually disagreeing with each other. Con- sciousness is now largely a scientific problem’ (Crick, 1996, p. 486).2 Yet the question of what it means to be a neural correlate of consciousness is actually far from straightforward, for it involves fundamental empirical, methodological, and _philosophical _issues about the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the brain. Even if one assumes, as we do, that states of consciousness causally depend on states of the brain, one can nevertheless wonder in what sense there is, or could be, such a thing as a neural correlate of consciousness
Noë, Alva & O'Regan, Kevin J. (2002). On the brain-basis of visual consciousnes: A sensorimotor account. In A. Noe & E. Thompson (eds.), Vision and Mind: Selected Readings in the Philosophy of Perception. MIT Press.   (Google)
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Abstract: The neurobiological systems that mediate the basic emotions are beginning to be understood. They appear to be constituted of genetically coded, but experientially refined executive circuits situated in subcortical areas of the brain which can coordinate the behavioral, physiological and psychological processes that need to be recruited to cope with a variety of primal survival needs (i.e., they signal evolutionary fitness issues). These birthrights allow newborn organisms to begin navigating the complexities of the world and to learn about the values and contingencies of the environment. Some of these systems have been identified and characterized using modern neuroscientific and psychobiological tools. The fundamental emotional systems can now be defined by the functional psychobiological characteristics of the underlying circuitries ? characteristics which help coordinate behavioral, physiological and psychological aspects of emotionality, including the valenced affective feeling states that provide fundamental values for the guidance of behavior. The various emotional circuits are coordinated by different neuropeptides, and the arousal of each system may generate distinct affective/neurodynamic states and imbalances may lead to various psychiatric disorders. The aim of this essay is to discuss the underlying conceptual issues that must be addressed for additional progress in understanding the nature of primary process affective consciousness
Prinz, Jesse J. & Jack, Anthony I. (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: Searching for a scientific experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):51-56.   (Google)
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Searle, John R. (2004). Peer commentary on Are There Neural Correlates of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):80-82.   (Google)
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Abstract: This paper concentrates on the basic properties of ''consciousness'' that temporal coding is postulated to relate to. A description of phenomenal consciousness based on what introspection tells us about its contents is offered. This includes a consideration of the effect of various brain lesions that result in cortical blindness, apperceptive and associative agnosia, and blindsight, together with an account of the manner in which sight is regained after cortical injuries. I then discuss two therories of perception-Direct Realism and the Representative Theory. This includes a discussion of the concept of the body-image, phantom limbs, the alleged projection of sensations, the ontological status of phenomenal space, the homunculus argument, the validity of topographic coding, the difference between the stimulus field and the visual field, and two theories of brain-mind relationship-the Identity Theory and the Bohr-Heisenberg theory of brain-mind complementarity. Finally I suggest that the binocular rivalry obtained in the case of the stroboscopic patterns that result from intermittent photic stimulation of one eye, when used in animal expeiments with unit recording, offers a good experimental method of investigating the binding problem
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Abstract: The existence of neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) is not enough for philosophical purposes. On the other hand, there's more to NCC than meets the sceptic's eye. (I) NCC are useful for a better understanding of conscious experience, for instance: (1) NCC are helpful to explain phenomenological features of consciousness – e.g., dreaming. (2) NCC can account for phenomenological opaque facts – e.g., the temporal structure of consciousness. (3) NCC reveal properties and functions of consciousness which cannot be elucidated either by introspective phenomenology or by psychological experiments alone – e.g., vision. (II) There are crucial problems and shortcomings of NCC: (1) Correlation implies neither causation nor identity. (2) There are limitations of empirical access due to the problem of other minds and the problem of self-deception, and (3) due to the restrictions provided by inter- and intraindividual variations. (4) NCC cannot be catched by neuroscience alone because of the externalistic content of representations. Therefore, NCC are not sufficient for a naturalistic theory of mind, (5) nor are they necessary because of the possibility of multiple realization. (III) Nevertheless, NCC are relevant and important for the mind-body problem: (1) NCC reveal features that are necessary at least for behavioral manifestations of human consciousness. (2) But NCC are compatible with very different proposals for a solution of the mind-body problem. This seems to be both advantageous and detrimental. (3) NCC restrict nomological identity accounts. (4) The investigation of NCC can refute empirical arguments for interactionism as a case study of John Eccles' dualistic proposals will show. (5) The discoveries of NCC cannot establish a naturalistic theory of mind alone, for which, e.g., a principle of supervenience and a further condition – and therefore philosophical arguments – are required
van Gulick, Robert (2004). Neural correlates and the diversity of content. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1).   (Google)
van Gulick, Robert (2004). Peer commentary on are there neural correlates of consciousness: Neural correlates and the diversity of content. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (1):82-86.   (Google)
Varela, F. (2002). Upwards and downwards causation in the brain: Case studies on the emergence and efficacy of consciousness. In Kunio Yasue, Marj Jibu & Tarcisio Della Senta (eds.), No Matter, Never Mind. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Vimal, Ram Lakhan Pandey (2009). Dependent Co-origination and Inherent Existence: Dual-Aspect Framework. Vision Research Institute: Living Vision and Consciousness Research 1 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Nāgārjuna rejects ‘inherent existence’ or ‘essence’ in favor of co-dependent origination, and that is also why he rejects causality. Causality is a major issue in metaphysical views; for example, one could argue that consciousness causes/affects our brain/behavior/function/matter or vice-versa. My goals are as follows: (i) which entities lack ‘inherent existence’ or ‘essence’ and which ones inherently exist? (ii) Do the entities that lack inherent existence dependently co-arise and hence can we reject causality as in Nāgārjuna’s philosophy? (iii) Do the entities that exist inherently cause entities that lack inherent existence? (iv) Do structure, function, experience, and environment cause each other? And (v) we critically analyze, extend, and examine Nāgārjuna’s philosophy of dependent co-origination (Nāgārjuna & Garfield, 1995)with respect to the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework (Vimal, 2008a, 2008b, 2009a, 2009c). Our analysis suggests that: (i)All conventional entities lack inherently existence, except subjective experiences (SEs)/proto-experiences (PEs) that are fundamental and irreducible and hence inherently exist. (ii) The entities that lack inherent existence dependently co-arise, and hence causality for them can be rejected but instead conditions (such as efficient, percept-object, immediate, and dominant conditions) might be necessary, as in Nāgārjuna’s philosophy. (iii) It is not clear that SEs that exist inherently cause entities that lack inherent existence, but one could argue that (a) superposed PEs/SEs in the mental aspect of stings or elementary particles might be the motivation for the evolution to form neural-nets to realize a specific SE, and (b) Nāgārjuna’s rejection of causality and ‘relational ontology’ (Caponigro & Prakash, 2009) need to be reconsidered for SEs. For example, the SE redness (redness-bhutatma (Vimal, 2009g)) inherently, independently, and eternally exists; and hence causality may not be rejected and the ‘relational ontology’ may not apply for any such SE. (iv) It is not clear that structure, function, experience, and environment cause each other, but they might be linked via conditions. (v) Furthermore, (a) an entity has double aspect: mental and material aspects, (b) string is a dual-aspect entity that dependently co-arises from string-vacuum or brane, and (c) the dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework is consistent with these premises. For example, PEs/SEs inherently exist and are in superposed form in the mental aspect of (a) string-vacuum and/or brane before Big-Bang, (b) strings, elementary particles (bosons and fermions) and all evolved entities after Big-Bang, and (c) entities before and after Big-Freeze/Big-Crunch or entities in cyclic universe as in the big bounce/quantum-bounce (Loop Quantum Gravity) framework. However, the selection of a specific SE has dependent co-origination (and hence not inherently existent, consistent with Nāgārjuna), i.e., a specific SE occurs in brain when (i) relevant neural-net is formed via neural Darwinism, (ii) the specific SE is selected via matching and selection mechanisms, and (iii) the necessary ingredients ―such as wakefulness, re-entry, attention, working memory, stimulus at above threshold, and neural-net PEs― are satisfied. If this is true, then only experiences (PEs/SEs in superposed form) are inherently existent and other entities have dependent co-origination.