What are Conscious Sensations?





Existing theories about the nature of conscious sensations are discussed.  The oldest classification system contrasts dualist theories (which say consciousness is an abstract entity) with monist theories (which say consciousness is a concrete entity).  A more recent system contrasts process theories ("consciousness is a process, not a thing") with vehicle theories (consciousness is a property of one or more of the things associated with brain processes). The present paper first points out that processes are abstracta, which makes process theories dualist. It then argues that (a) dualist theories are untestable and therefore unscientific and (b) process theories which invoke information are at odds with the normal definition of information.  Then two separate kinds of vehicle theory are discussed: first the neural identity theory and then a theory that pulls together the enormous volume of data generated by Crick's suggestion to forget about theories and simply measure the neural correlates of consciousness into a proposal equating sensory consciousness with certain patterns in the electromagnetic fields generated by brain function.  The paper concludes with an injunction to stop researching this topic altogether, on the grounds that the results are likely to be used in unacceptably dystopian developments.


monism, dualism, process theories, vehicle theories, neural identity theory, NCCs, CEMF theory


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How to Cite

Pockett , S. (2023). What are Conscious Sensations?. Journal of NeuroPhilosophy, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7740150