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Understanding the conscious brain: connecting features of consciousness to features of neural processes

Our understanding of how the brain produces consciousness is very limited, and it is claimed that this will not change because consciousness simply falls outside the scope of scientific explanations. During the first three years of my FWO postdoctoral fellowship, by emphasising how scientific explanation in certain cases proceeds, I argued that this is not necessarily so. My goal now is to demonstrate that this explanatory schema can be applyied to anchor consciousness to brain processes by identifying structural or functional similarities and establishing explanatory links between features of consciousness and features of neural mechanisms. In my proposed research, I will concentrate on three different sets of features of conscious experience, each being in the centre of fundamental contemporary psychological and philosophical debates. The focus areas of my proposed research will be: (1) degraded conscious experiences as in the case of inattention, brief presentation time, and brain damage, (2) the richness (detailedness) of conscious experiences even when one cannot report all the details, (3) the fact that certain conscious experiences, like seeing the colour red, are simple (unstructured). My proposed research will address these topics by linking these central features of consciousness to features of underlying neural representations and the mechanisms modulating them.
Date:1 Oct 2017 →  31 Mar 2021
Disciplines:Theory and methodology of philosophy, Philosophy, Other philosophy, ethics and religious studies not elsewhere classified