Explanation in the science of consciousness: From the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) to the difference makers of consciousness (DMCs)

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The science of consciousness is currently structured around the search for the neural correlates ofconsciousness (NCCs). One of the alleged advantages of the NCC framework is its metaphysicalneutrality—the fact that it begs no contested questions with respect to debates about the funda-mental nature of consciousness. Here, we argue that even if the NCC framework is metaphysicallyneutral, it is structurally committed, for it presupposes a certain model—what we call theLite-Brite model—of consciousness. This represents a serious liability for the NCC framework,for the plausibility of the Lite-Brite model is very much an open question, and the science ofconsciousness would be better served by a framework that does not presuppose it. Drawingon interventionist ideas in the philosophy of science, we suggest that the Difference-Makerframework can provide just such an alternative. Instead of searching for the neural correlatesof consciousness (NCCs), we ought to be searching for the difference makers of consciousness(DMCs).
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophy and the Mind Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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