A1 Journal article – refereed

Consciousness as a concrete physical phenomenon

List of Authors: Jussi Jylkkä, Henry Railo

Publisher: Academic Press Inc.

Publication year: 2019

Journal: Consciousness and Cognition

Journal name in source: Consciousness and Cognition

Volume number: 74

ISSN: 1053-8100

eISSN: 1090-2376

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2019.102779

URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810019301436


The typical empirical approach to studying consciousness holds that we
can only observe the neural correlates of experiences, not the
experiences themselves. In this paper we argue, in contrast, that
experiences are concrete physical phenomena that can causally interact
with other phenomena, including observers. Hence, experiences can be
observed and scientifically modelled. We propose that the epistemic gap
between an experience and a scientific model of its neural mechanisms
stems from the fact that the model is merely a theoretical construct
based on observations, and distinct from the concrete phenomenon it
models, namely the experience itself. In this sense, there is a gap
between any natural phenomenon and its scientific model. On this
approach, a neuroscientific theory of the constitutive mechanisms of an
experience is literally a model of the subjective experience itself. We
argue that this metatheoretical framework provides a solid basis for the
empirical study of consciousness.

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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:36