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ConsciousnessCreeping up on the hard problem$
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Jeffrey Gray

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198520917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198520917.001.0001

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Epiphenomenalism revisited

Epiphenomenalism revisited

(p.107) Chapter 9 Epiphenomenalism revisited

Jeffrey Gray

Oxford University Press

The last chapter was profligate in suggesting that consciousness does various things. But many thinkers do not accept the possibility that consciousness is the kind of thing that can do anything at all. So anyone who claims causality for consciousness has to offer at least some kind of explanation of how this might be achieved. This chapter explains the meaning of the term consciousness as a ‘medium’. It shows that the Hard Problem of consciousness can be stripped down to one (still Hard) but double-edged question: how does the unconscious brain create and inspect the display medium (qualia) of conscious perception? This is considered one question rather than two because any scientifically acceptable account of how the brain creates qualia will at the same time constitute an account of how it inspects them. St-Marks-as-virtual-reality may offer a model of how this could be achieved. What is certain is that the first half of the question, ‘how does the brain create qualia?’, is enough to keep science going for a long time to come.

Keywords:   consciousness, conscious experience, causality, language, science, aesthetics, qualia

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