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Mox velmoos, uepottmeot of lsycboloqy, ColJsmltbs, uolvetslty of looJoo, New ctoss,
looJoo 514 6Nw, oqlooJ.

Iootool of cooscloosoess 5toJles. 5peclol lssoe oo now coolJ cooscloos xpetleoces
Affect 8tolos? 9(11), 2002, pp. 3-29.


lo evetyJoy llfe we toke lt fot qtooteJ tbot we bove cooscloos coottol of some of
oot octloos ooJ tbot tbe pott of os tbot exetclses coottol ls tbe cooscloos mloJ.
lsycbosomotlc meJlcloe olso ossomes tbot tbe cooscloos mloJ coo offect boJy
stotes, ooJ tbls ls soppotteJ by evlJeoce tbot tbe ose of lmoqety, bypoosls,
biofeedback and other mental interventions can be therapeutic in a variety of
meJlcol cooJltloos. nowevet, tbete ls oo occepteJ tbeoty of mloJ/boJy
lotetoctloo ooJ tbls bos boJ o Jettlmeotol effect oo tbe occeptooce of meotol
coosotloo lo scleoce, pbllosopby ooJ lo mooy oteos of cllolcol ptoctlce. 8lomeJlcol
occooots typlcolly ttooslote tbe effects of mloJ loto tbe effects of btolo
fooctlooloq, fot exomple, explololoq mloJ/boJy lotetoctloos lo tetms of tbe
lotetcoooectloos ooJ teclptocol coottol of cottlcol, oeotoeoJoctloe, ootooomlc
ooJ lmmooe systems. wblle socb occooots ote losttoctlve, tbey ote lmpllcltly
teJoctloolst, ooJ beq tbe poestloo of bow cooscloos expetleoces coolJ bove boJlly
effects. Oo tbe otbet booJ, ooo-teJoctloolst occooots bove to cope wltb tbtee
ptoblems. 1) 1be pbyslcol wotlJ oppeots coosolly closeJ, wblcb woolJ seem to
leove oo toom fot cooscloos lotetveotloo. 2) Ooe ls oot cooscloos of ones own
btolo/boJy ptocessloq, so bow coolJ tbete be cooscloos coottol of socb
ptocessloq? J) cooscloos expetleoces oppeot to come too lote to coosolly offect
tbe ptocesses to wblcb tbey most obvloosly telote. 1bls popet soqqests o woy
of ooJetstooJloq meotol coosotloo tbot tesolves tbese ptoblems. lt olso
suggests that conscious mental control needs to be partly understood in
tetms of tbe voloototy opetotloos of tbe ptecooscloos mloJ, ooJ tbot tbls
ollows oo occooot of bloloqlcol Jetetmlolsm tbot ls compotlble wltb
expetleoceJ ftee wlll.

What needs to be exp|a|ned

1he assumpLlon LhaL we have a consclous mlnd LhaL conLrols our volunLary funcLlons
and acLlons ls Laken for granLed ln everyday llfe and ls deeply lngralned ln our eLhlcs,
pollLlcs and legal sysLems. 1he poLenLlal effecL of Lhe mlnd on Lhe body ls also Laken
for granLed ln psychosomaLlc medlclne. 8uL bow Lhe consclous mlnd exerclses lLs
lnfluence ls noL easy Lo undersLand. ln prlnclple, Lhere are four dlsLlncL ways ln whlch
body/braln and mlnd/consclousness mlghL enLer lnLo causal relaLlonshlps. 1here mlghL
be physlcal causes of physlcal sLaLes, physlcal causes of menLal sLaLes, menLal causes of
menLal sLaLes, and menLal causes of physlcal sLaLes. LsLabllshlng whlch forms of
causaLlon are effecLlve ln ptoctlce ls lmporLanL, noL [usL for a deeper undersLandlng of
mlnd/body lnLeracLlons, buL also for Lhe proper LreaLmenL of some forms of lllness and

WlLhln convenLlonal medlclne, physlcalphyslcal causaLlon ls Laken for granLed.
ConsequenLly, Lhe proper LreaLmenL for physlcal dlsorders ls assumed Lo be some form
of physlcal lnLervenLlon. sychlaLry Lakes Lhe efflcacy of physlcalmenLal causaLlon for
granLed, along wlLh Lhe assumpLlon LhaL Lhe proper LreaLmenL for psychologlcal
dlsorders may lnvolve psychoacLlve drugs, neurosurgery and so on. Many forms of
psychoLherapy Lake menLalmenLal causaLlon for granLed, and assume LhaL
psychologlcal dlsorders can be allevlaLed by means of "Lalklng cures", gulded lmagery,
hypnosls and oLher forms of menLal lnLervenLlon. sychosomaLlc medlclne assumes
LhaL menLalphyslcal causaLlon can be effecLlve ("psychogenesls"). ConsequenLly,
under some clrcumsLances, a physlcal dlsorder (for example, hysLerlcal paralysls) may
requlre a menLal (psychoLherapeuLlc) lnLervenLlon. Clven Lhe exLenslve evldence for oll
Lhese causal lnLeracLlons (cf. readlngs ln velmans, 1996a), how are we Lo make sense of

C||n|ca| ev|dence for the causa| eff|cacy of consc|ous menta| states

1he problems posed by menLalphyslcal causaLlon are parLlcularly acuLe, as
reducLlonlsL, maLerlallsLlc sclence generally Lakes lL for granLed LhaL Lhe operaLlon of
physlcal sysLems can be enLlrely explalned ln physlcal Lerms. ?eL Lhere ls a large body
of evldence LhaL sLaLes of mlnd can affecL noL only subsequenL sLaLes of Lhe mlnd buL
also sLaLes of Lhe body. lor example, 8arber (1984), Shelkh eL al. (1996), and Lhe
readlngs ln Shelkh (2001) revlew evldence LhaL Lhe use of lmagery, hypnosls, and
blofeedback may be LherapeuLlc ln a varleLy of medlcal condlLlons.

arLlcularly puzzllng ls Lhe evldence LhaL under cerLaln condlLlons, a range of ootooomlc
body funcLlons lncludlng hearL raLe, blood pressure, vasomoLor acLlvlLy, blood glucose
levels, pupll dllaLlon, elecLrodermal acLlvlLy, and lmmune sysLem funcLlonlng can be
lnfluenced by consclous sLaLes. ln some cases Lhese effecLs are sLrlklng. 8aars &
McCovern (1996) for example reporL LhaL,

The global influence of consciousness is dramatized by the remarkable
phenomenon of blofeedback Lralnlng. 1here ls flrm evldence LhaL ooy slngle
neurone or ooy populaLlon of neurons can come Lo be volunLarlly conLrolled by
glvlng consclous feedback of Lhelr neural flrlng raLes. A small needle elecLrode ln
Lhe base of Lhe Lhumb can Lap lnLo a slngle moLor unlL - a muscle flbre conLrolled
by one moLor neurone comlng from Lhe splnal cord, and a sensory flbre golng
back Lo lL. When Lhe slgnal from Lhe muscle flbre ls ampllfled and played back as
a cllck Lhrough a loudspeaker, Lhe sub[ecL can learn Lo conLrol hls or her slngle
moLor unlL - one among mllllons - ln abouL Len mlnuLes. Some sub[ecLs have
learned Lo play drumrolls on Lhelr slngle moLor unlLs afLer abouL LhlrLy mlnuLes of
pracLlce! Powever, lf Lhe blofeedback slgnal ls noL consclous, learnlng does noL
occur. Subllmlnal feedback, dlsLracLlon from Lhe feedback slgnal, or feedback vla
a hablLuaLlng sLlmulus - all Lhese cases prevenL conLrol belng acqulred. Slnce Lhls
klnd of learnlng only works for cooscloos blofeedback slgnals, lL suggesLs agaln
that consciousness creates global access to all parts of the nervous system. (p75)

1he mosL well accepLed evldence for Lhe effecL of sLaLes of mlnd on medlcal ouLcome ls
undoubLedly Lhe "placebo effecL"well known Lo every medlcal pracLlLloner and
researcher. Slmply recelvlng LreaLmenL, and havlng confldence ln Lhe Lherapy or
LheraplsL has lLself been found Lo be LherapeuLlc ln many cllnlcal slLuaLlons (cf
Skrabanek & McCormlck 1989, Wall, 1996). As wlLh oLher lnsLances of apparenL
mlnd/body lnLeracLlon, Lhere are confllcLlng lnLerpreLaLlons of Lhe causal processes
lnvolved. lor example, Skrabanek & McCormlck (1989) clalm LhaL placebos can affecL
lllness (how people feel) buL noL dlsease (organlc dlsorders). 1haL ls, Lhey accepL Lhe
posslblllLy of menLalmenLal causaLlon buL noL of menLalphyslcal causaLlon.

Powever, Wall (1996) clLes evldence LhaL placebo LreaLmenLs may produce organlc
changes. Pashlsh eL al. (1988) for example, found LhaL use of an lmpresslve ulLrasound
machlne reduced noL only paln, buL also [aw LlghLness and swelllng afLer Lhe exLracLlon
of wlsdom LeeLh wheLher or noL Lhe machlne was seL Lo produce ulLrasound. Wall also
revlews evldence LhaL placebos can remove Lhe sensaLlon of paln accompanylng well-
deflned organlc dlsorders, and noL [usL Lhe feellngs of dlscomforL, anxleLy and so on
LhaL may accompany lL.

As McMahon and Shelkh (1989) noLe, Lhe absence of an accepLable Lheory of
mlnd/body lnLeracLlon wlLhln phllosophy and sclence has had a deLrlmenLal effecL on
Lhe accepLance of menLal causaLlon ln many areas of cllnlcal Lheory and pracLlce.
Conversely, Lhe exLenslve evldence for menLal causaLlon wlLhln some cllnlcal seLLlngs
forms parL of Lhe daLabase LhaL any adequaLe Lheory of mlnd/consclousness -
body/braln relaLlonshlps needs Lo explaln.

Some usefu| accounts menta| causat|on

1he LheoreLlcal problems posed by menLal causaLlon are nlcely lllusLraLed by sLudles of
lmagery. Accordlng Lo Lhe evldence revlewed by Shelkh eL al (1996), lmagery can be an
effecLlve Lool ln exerclslng menLal conLrol over ones own bodlly sLaLes (hearL raLe,
blood pressure, vasomoLor acLlvlLy and so on). lL can also affecL oLher sLaLes of mlnd,
playlng an lmporLanL role ln hypnosls and medlLaLlon. 8uL, how could ephemeral
lmages affecL Lhe spongy maLerlal of bralns? And by whaL mechanlsm could consclous
lmages affecL oLher consclous sLaLes?

ln cllnlcal pracLlce, Lhe effecLs of lmagery on braln, body and oLher consclous
experlence are ofLen explalned Lo paLlenLs ln Lerms of tefocosloq ooJ teJltectloo of
otteotloo, llnked where plauslble Lo Lhe operaLlon of known blologlcal mechanlsms.
lor example, ln Lhelr paln conLrol lnducLlon programme, Syr[ala & Abrams (1996)
explaln Lhe effecLlveness of lmagery Lo paLlenLs ln Lerms of Lhe gaLe-conLrol Lheory of

Even though the pain message starts in your leg, you wont feel pain unless your
braln geLs Lhe paln message. 1he paln message moves along nerves from where
Lhe ln[ury ls locaLed Lo Lhe braln. 1hese nerves enLer Lhe splnal cord, where Lhey
connecL Lo oLher nerves, whlch send lnformaLlon up Lhe splnal cord Lo Lhe braln.
1he connecLlons ln Lhe splnal cord and braln acL llke gaLes. 1hese gaLes help you
Lo noL have Lo pay aLLenLlon Lo all Lhe messages ln your body all Lhe Llme. lor
example, rlghL now as you are llsLenlng, you do noL noLlce Lhe feellngs ln your
legs, alLhough Lhose feellngs are Lhere lf you choose Lo noLlce Lhem. lf you are
walklng, you mlghL noLlce feellngs ln your legs buL noL ln your mouLh. Cne way
we block Lhe gaLes Lo paln ls wlLh medlcaLlons. Cr we can block Lhe gaLes by
fllllng Lhem wlLh oLher messages. ?ou do Lhls lf you hlL your elbow and Lhen rub
lL hard. 1he rubblng fllls Lhe gaLe wlLh oLher messages, and you feel less paln.
Youve done the same thing if you ever had a headache and you geL busy dolng
someLhlng LhaL Lakes a loL of concenLraLlon. ?ou forgeL abouL Lhe headache
because Lhe gaLes are full of oLher messages. lmagery ls one way Lo flll Lhe gaLe.
?ou can choose Lo feel Lhe paln lf you need Lo, buL any Llme you llke you can flll
Lhe gaLe wlLh cerLaln LhoughLs and lmages. Cur goal ls Lo flnd Lhe besL gaLe flllers
for you. (p243)

Whlle Lhls accounL ls nlcely [udged ln Lerms of lLs pracLlcal value Lo paLlenLs, lL does noL
glve much deLall abouL Lhe acLual mechanlsms lnvolved. nor does lL serve as a general
accounL of menLal causaLlon ln slLuaLlons LhaL seem Lo demand a more sophlsLlcaLed
undersLandlng of Lhe lnLrlcaLe, reclprocal balance of mlnd/braln/body relaLlonshlps.
1he evldence LhaL lnvolunLary processes can someLlmes be broughL under volunLary
conLrol, for example, appears Lo blur Lhe classlcal boundary beLween volunLary and
auLonomlc nervous sysLem funcLlons, and exLends Lhe poLenLlal scope of Lop-down
processlng ln Lhe braln. And Lhe evldence LhaL lmagery can someLlmes have bodlly
effecLs LhaL resemble Lhe effecLs of Lhe lmaged slLuaLlons Lhemselves suggesL LhaL Lhe
conventional, clear distinction between psychological reality and physical reality
may noL be so clear ln Lhe way LhaL Lhese are tespooJeJ to by body and braln. As
kenneLh elleLler (1993) puLs lL,

Asthmatics sneeze at plastic flowers. People with a terminal illness stay alive
unLll afLer a slgnlflcanL evenL, apparenLly wllllng Lhemselves Lo llve unLll a
graduaLlon ceremony, a blrLhday mllesLone, or a rellglous hollday. A bouL of
rage preclplLaLes a sudden, faLal hearL aLLack. Speclally Lralned people can
voluntarily control such involuntary bodily functions as the electrical activity
of Lhe braln, hearL raLe, bleedlng, and even the bodys response to infection.
Mlnd and body are lnexLrlcably llnked, and Lhelr second-by-second lnLeracLlon
exerLs a profound lnfluence upon healLh and lllness, llfe and deaLh. ALLlLudes,
bellefs, and emoLlonal sLaLes ranglng from love and compasslon Lo fear and
anger can Lrlgger chaln reacLlons LhaL affecL blood chemlsLry, hearL raLe, and
Lhe acLlvlLy of every cell and organ sysLem ln Lhe bodyfrom Lhe sLomach and
gasLrolnLesLlnal LracL Lo Lhe lmmune sysLem. All of LhaL ls now lndlspuLable
facL. Powever, Lhere ls sLlll greaL debaLe over Lhe exLenL Lo whlch Lhe mlnd
can influence the body and the precise nature of that linkage. (P19).

Cne producLlve rouLe Lo a deeper undersLandlng of such llnkages ls Lhe LradlLlonal
blomedlcal one, lnvolvlng a fuller undersLandlng of Lhe lnLerconnecLlons and reclprocal
conLrol beLween corLlcal, neuroendocrlne, auLonomlc and lmmune sysLems. 1hese
have been exLenslvely lnvesLlgaLed wlLhln psychoneurolmmunology. lollowlng a
deLalled revlew of Lhls research, WaLklns (1997) concludes LhaL

It is apparent that the immune system can no longer be thought of as
auLoregulaLory. vlrLually every aspecL of lmmune funcLlon can be modulaLed by
Lhe auLonomlc nervous sysLem and cenLrally produced neuropepLldes. 1hese
efferenL neurolmmunomodulaLory paLhways are Lhemselves modulaLed by
afferenL lnpuLs from Lhe lmmune sysLem, Lhe corLex and Lhe llmblc emoLlonal
cenLers. 1hus Lhe braln and Lhe lmmune sysLem communlcaLe ln a complex
bldlrecLlonal flow of cyLoklnes, sLerolds and neuropepLldes, sharlng lnformaLlon
and regulating each others function. This enables the two systems to respond in
an lnLegraLed manner Lo envlronmenLal challenges, be Lhey lmmunologlcal or
behavioral, and thereby maintain homeostatic balance. (p15)

So why does menta| causat|on rema|n a prob|em?

Such lnnovaLlve flndlngs and Lhelr pracLlcal consequences for Lhe developmenL of
mind-body medicine demand careful investigation. It is important to note however
LhaL such explanaLory accounLs rouLlnely LranslaLe mloJ-body lnLeracLlons lnLo btolo-
body lnLeracLlons. unless one ls prepared Lo accepL LhaL mlnd and consclousness are
ootbloq mote Lhan braln processes
Lhls flnesses Lhe classlcal mlnd/body problems LhaL
are olteoJy posed by ootmol voluntary, mental control. How imagery might affect
auLonomlc or lmmune sysLem funcLlonlng ls mysLerlous, buL how a consclous wlsh Lo
llfL a flnger makes LhaL flnger move ls equally mysLerlous. Why? 1here are many
reasons, buL l wlll focus on [usL Lhree:

rob|em 1. 1he phys|ca| wor|d appears causa||y c|osed. As noLed above, lL ls wldely
accepLed ln sclence LhaL Lhe operaLlon of physlcal sysLems can be enLlrely explalned ln
physlcal Lerms. lor example, lf one examlnes Lhe human braln from an exLernal Lhlrd-
person perspecLlve one can, ln prlnclple, Lrace Lhe effecLs of lnpuL sLlmull on Lhe
central nervous system all the way from input to output, without finding any gaps
ln Lhe chaln of causaLlon LhaL consclousness mlghL flll. lndeed, Lhe oeotol cottelotes
of consclousness would fill any gaps that might potentially be filled by
consclousness ln Lhe acLlvlLles of braln. ln any case, lf one lnspecLs Lhe operaLlon of
Lhe braln from Lhe ouLslde, no sub[ecLlve experlence can be observed aL work. nor
does one need Lo appeal Lo Lhe exlsLence of sub[ecLlve experlence Lo accounL for Lhe
neural acLlvlLy LhaL one coo observe. 1he same ls Lrue lf one Lhlnks of Lhe braln as a

AlLhough varlanLs of ellmlnaLlve/reducLlve physlcallsm and funcLlonallsm (LhaL consclousness ls
noLhlng more Lhan a sLaLe or funcLlon of Lhe braln) are commonly adopLed ln currenL phllosophy and
sclence, Lhe reducLlon of consclous phenomenology Lo braln sLaLes or funcLlons faces well-recognlsed
dlfflculLles. l presenL a deLalled analysls of Lhe sLrengLhs and weaknesses of varlous ellmlnaLlve,
reducLlve and emergenL forms of physlcallsm, along wlLh psychofuncLlonallsm (funcLlonallsm ln
cognlLlve psychology) and compuLaLlonal funcLlonallsm (funcLlonallsm ln phllosophy and Al) ln
velmans (2000) chapLers 3, 4 and 3. Cn-llne papers addresslng many of Lhe dlfflculLles, for example ln
Lhe work of Searle, uenneLL, ArmsLrong, 8lock and 1ye are also avallable from Lhe CogrlnLs archlve
(hLLp:// - see velmans(1998, 2001a, 2001b). Clven Lhe currenL prevalence of
physlcallsm l also summarlse some of some of my reasons for noL adopLlng lL ln Lhe Appendlx below.
funcLlonlng sysLem descrlbed ln lnformaLlon processlng Lerms raLher Lhan neural
Lerms. Cnce Lhe processlng wlLhln a sysLem requlred Lo perform a glven funcLlon ls
sufficiently well specified in procedural terms, one does not have to add an inner
conscious life to make the system work. In principle, the same function, operating
Lo Lhe same speclflcaLlon, could be performed by a non-consclous machlne.

rob|em 2. One is not conscious of ones own brain/body processing. So how could
there be consc|ous contro| of such process|ng? How conscious is conscious,
volunLary conLrol? lL ls surprlslng how few people boLher Lo ask.
Cne mlghL be aware
of Lhe facL tbot relaxlng lmagery can lower hearL raLe, buL one has no awareness of bow
lL does so, nor, ln blofeedback, does one have any awareness of how consclousness
mlghL conLrol Lhe flrlng of a slngle moLor neurone. One isnt even conscious of bow Lo
control the articulatory system in everyday conscious speech! Speech producLlon ls
one of Lhe mosL complex Lasks humans are able Lo perform. ?eL, one has no awareness
whaLsoever of Lhe moLor commands lssued from Lhe cenLral nervous sysLem LhaL Lravel
down efferenL flbers Lo lnnervaLe Lhe muscles, nor of Lhe complex moLor programmlng
LhaL enables muscular co-ordlnaLlon and conLrol. ln speech, for example, Lhe Longue
may make as many as 12 ad[usLmenLs of shape per second - ad[usLmenLs whlch need Lo
be preclsely coordlnaLed wlLh oLher rapld, dynamlc changes wlLhln Lhe arLlculaLory
sysLem. Accordlng Lo Lenneberg (1967), wlLhln one mlnuLe of dlscourse as many as 10
Lo 13 Lhousand neuromuscular evenLs occur. ?eL only Lhe tesolts of Lhls acLlvlLy (Lhe
overL speech) normally enLers consclousness.

reconsclous speech conLrol mlghL of course be Lhe resulL of ptlot consclous acLlvlLy,
for example, plannlng wbot Lo say mlghL be consclous, parLlcularly lf one ls expresslng
some new ldea, or expresslng some old ldea ln a novel way. Speech producLlon ls
commonly LhoughL Lo lnvolve hlerarchlcally arranged, semanLlc, synLacLlc, and moLor
conLrol sysLems ln whlch communlcaLlve lnLenLlons are LranslaLed lnLo overL speech ln
a largely Lop-down fashlon. lannlng wbot Lo say and LranslaLlng nonverbal concepLual
conLenL lnLo llngulsLlc forms requlres efforL. 8uL Lo whaL exLenL ls such plannlng
consclous? LeL us see.

A number of LheorlsLs have observed LhaL perlods of concepLual, semanLlc and
synLacLlc plannlng are characLerlzed by gaps ln Lhe oLherwlse relaLlvely conLlnuous
sLream of speech (Coldman-Llsler, 1968, 8oomer, 1970). 1he neurologlsL !ohn
Pughllngs !ackson, for example, suggesLed LhaL Lhe amounL of plannlng requlred
depends on whether the speech is new speech or old speech. Old speech (well-
known phrases, eLc.) requlres llLLle plannlng and ls relaLlvely conLlnuous. new speech
(saylng Lhlngs ln a new way) requlres plannlng and ls characLerlzed by heslLaLlon
pauses. lodor, 8ever & CarreLL (1974) polnL ouL LhaL breaLhlng pauses also occur (gaps

Note that being physically closed does not preclude downward causation. Higher order brain
sLaLes or funcLlons may for example consLraln lower order braln sLaLes and funcLlons, for example ln
Lhe way LhaL compuLer sofLware consLralns and conLrols Lhe swlLchlng ln Lhe hardware of Lhe
machlne. 1he sofLware, llke Lhe hlgher order funcLlonlng of Lhe braln ls besL descrlbed ln funcLlonal
Lerms (e.g. as an lnformaLlon processlng sysLem), buL Lhls does noL alLer Lhe facL LhaL Lhe sofLware ls
enLlrely embodled ln Lhe physlcal hardware, and exerclses lLs causal effecLs Lhrough lLs embodlmenL
ln LhaL hardware.
See Lhe lnlLlal dlscusslon of Lhls lssue ln velmans (1991a).
ln Lhe speech sLream caused by Lhe lnLake of breaLh). Powever, breaLhlng pauses do
noL generally colnclde wlLh heslLaLlon pauses.

8reaLhlng pauses nearly always occur aL Lhe beglnnlngs and ends of ma[or llngulsLlc
consLlLuenLs (such as clauses and senLences). So Lhese appear Lo be coordlnaLed wlLh
Lhe synLacLlc organlzaLlon of such consLlLuenLs lnLo a clausal or senLenLlal sLrucLure.
Such organlzaLlon ls largely auLomaLlc and preconsclous. 8y conLrasL, heslLaLlon pauses
Lend Lo occur wlLhln clauses and senLences and appear Lo be assoclaLed wlLh Lhe
formulation of ideas, deciding which words best express ones meaning, and so on. If
Lhls analysls ls correcL, consclous plannlng of wbot Lo say should be evldenL durlng
heslLaLlon pauses - and a llLLle examlnaLlon of whaL one experlences durlng a heslLaLlon
pause should seLLle Lhe maLLer. 1ry lL. uurlng a heslLaLlon pause one mlghL experlence
a cerLaln sense of efforL (perhaps Lhe efforL Lo puL someLhlng ln an approprlaLe way).
8uL noLhlng ls revealed of Lhe ptocesses LhaL formulaLe ldeas, LranslaLe Lhese lnLo a
form sulLable for expresslon ln language, search for and reLrleve words from memory,
or assess whlch words are mosL approprlaLe. ln shorL, no more ls revealed of
concepLual or semanLlc plannlng ln heslLaLlon pauses Lhan ls revealed of synLacLlc
plannlng ln breaLhlng pauses. 1he facL LhaL a process demands processlng effott does
noL ensure LhaL lL ls cooscloos. lndeed, Lhere ls a sense ln whlch one ls only consclous
of whaL one wanLs Lo say oftet ooe bos solJ lt!

lL ls parLlcularly surprlslng LhaL Lhe same may be sald of cooscloos vetbol tbooqbts. 1haL
is, the same situation applies if one formulates ones thoughts into covert speech
Lhrough Lhe use of phonemlc lmagery, prlor Lo lLs overL expresslon. Cnce one bos a
consclous verbal LhoughL, manlfesLed ln experlence ln Lhe form of phonemlc lmagery,
Lhe complex cognlLlve processes requlred Lo generaLe LhaL LhoughL, lncludlng Lhe
processlng requlred Lo encode lL lnLo phonemlc lmagery bove olteoJy opetoteJ. ln
shorL, coverL speech and overL speech have a slmllar relaLlon Lo Lhe plannlng processes
LhaL produce Lhem. ln nelLher case are Lhe complex anLecedenL processes avallable Lo
lnLrospecLlon. lL should be clear LhaL Lhls applles equally Lo Lhe processes LhaL generaLe
Lhe deLalled spaLlal arrangemenL, colours, shapes, slzes, movemenLs and accompanylng
sounds and smells of an lmaged vlsual scene.

rob|em 3. Consc|ous exper|ences appear to come too |ate to causa||y affect the
processes to wh|ch they most obv|ous|y re|ate. ln Lhe producLlon of overL speech and
coverL speech (verbal LhoughLs) Lhe consclous experlence LhaL we normally assoclaLe
wlLh such processlng follows Lhe processlng Lo whlch lL relaLes. Clven Lhls, ln whaL
seose are these conscious processes conscious? The same question can be asked of
LhaL mosL baslc of consclous volunLary processes, cooscloos volltloo ltself.

lL has been known for some Llme LhaL volunLary acLs are preceded by a slow negaLlve
shift in electrical potential (recorded at the scalp) known as the readiness
potential, and that this shift can precede the act by up to one second or more
(kornhuber & ueeke, 1963). ln lLself, Lhls says noLhlng abouL Lhe relaLlon of Lhe
readlness poLenLlal Lo Lhe expetleoceJ wlsb Lo perform an acL. 1o address Lhls, LlbeL
(1983) asked sub[ecLs Lo noLe Lhe lnsLanL Lhey experlenced a wlsh Lo perform a
speclfled acL (a slmple flexlon of Lhe wrlsL or flngers) by relaLlng Lhe onseL of Lhe
experlenced wlsh Lo Lhe spaLlal poslLlon of a revolvlng spoL on a caLhode ray
oscllloscope, whlch swepL Lhe perlphery of Lhe face llke Lhe sweep-second hand of a
clock. 8ecorded ln Lhls way, Lhe readlness poLenLlal preceded Lhe volunLary acL by
around 330 mllllseconds, and preceded Lhe experlenced wlsh (Lo flex Lhe wrlsL or
flngers) by around 330 mllllseconds (for sponLaneous acLs lnvolvlng no preplannlng).
1hls suggesLs LhaL, llke Lhe acL lLself, Lhe experlenced wlsh (Lo flex ones wrist) may be
one ouLpuL from Lhe (prlor) cerebral processes LhaL acLually selecL a glven response. lf
so, conscious volition may be no more necessary for such a (preconscious) choice
Lhan Lhe consclousness of ones own speech ls necessary for lLs producLlon.
And Lhe
same ls llkely Lo apply Lo more complex volunLary acLs, such as Lhe volunLary conLrol of
auLonomlc funcLlons Lhrough lmagery and blofeedback dlscussed above.

1he current theoret|ca| |mpasse

As noLed, Lhere ls exLenslve experlmenLal and cllnlcal evldence LhaL consclous
experlences can affecL braln/body processes, and Lhe lmporLance of consclous
experlence ls rlghLly Laken for granLed ln everyday llfe. ln one sense Lhls can be
explalned by a more sophlsLlcaLed blomedlcal undersLandlng of mlnd/braln/body
relaLlonshlps. 8uL ln a deeper sense, currenL aLLempLs Lo undersLand Lhe role of
consclous experlence face an lmpasse. Pow can experlences have a causal lnfluence
on a physlcal world LhaL ls causally closed? Pow can one consclously conLrol someLhlng
LhaL one ls noL consclous of? And how can experlences affecL processes LhaL pteceJe
Lhem? uuallsL-lnLeracLlonlsL accounLs of Lhe consclousness-braln relaLlonshlp, ln whlch
an auLonomously exlsLlng consclousness lnfluences Lhe braln, do noL even recognlse
these how problems let alone address them. Materialist reductionists attempt to
flnesse such problems by challenglng Lhe accuracy, causal efflcacy and even Lhe
exlsLence of consclous experlences. 1hls evades Lhe need Lo address Lhe how
quesLlons, buL denles Lhe valldlLy of Lhe cllnlcal evldence and defles common sense. l
have glven a deLalled crlLlque of Lhe many varlanLs of duallsm and reducLlonlsm
elsewhere and wlll noL repeaL Lhls here.
ln whaL follows l suggesL a way Lhrough Lhe
lmpasse LhaL ls nelLher duallsL nor reducLlonlsL.

As LlbeL observed, Lhe experlenced wlsh follows Lhe readlness poLenLlal, buL pteceJes Lhe moLor acL
lLself (by around 200 msec.)Llme enough Lo consclously veto Lhe wlsh before execuLlng Lhe acL. ln a
manner remlnlscenL of Lhe lnLerplay beLween Lhe llbldlnous deslres arising from Freuds unconscious
lJ and Lhe conLrol exerclsed by Lhe consclous eqo, LlbeL suggesLed LhaL Lhe loltlotloo of volunLary acL
and Lhe accompanylng wlsh are developed preconsclously, buL consclousness can Lhen acL as a form
of censor whlch decldes wheLher or noL Lo carry ouL Lhe acL. Whlle Lhls ls an lnLeresLlng posslblllLy, lL
does lnvlLe an obvlous quesLlon. lf Lhe wlsh Lo perform an acL ls developed preconsclously, why
doesnt the decision to censor the act have its own preconscious antecedenLs? LlbeL (1996) argues
LhaL lL mlqbt noL need Lo do so as volunLary conLrol lmposes a change on a wlsh LhaL ls already
consclous. ?eL, lL seems very odd LhaL a wlsh Lo do someLhlng has preconsclous anLecedenLs whlle a
wlsh noL Lo do someLhlng does noL. As lL happens, Lhere ls evldence LhaL bears dlrecLly on Lhls lssue.
karrer, Warren & 8uLh (1978), and konLLlnen & LyyLlnen (1993), for example, found LhaL teftololoq
from lrrelevanL movemenLs ls assoclaLed wlLh a slow posltlve-qoloq readlness poLenLlal.
This could be tested using Libets procedures, by examining the relation of the readiness potential to
an experlenced wlsh Lo conLrol a glven bodlly funcLlon vla lmagery or blofeedback.
See velmans (2000) chapLers 2, 3, 4 and 3 and Lhe Appendlx below.
ln Lhe space avallable l can glve only an lnLroducLlon Lo how one mlghL resolve Lhese problems. A
more deLalled LreaLmenL ls glven ln velmans (2000) chapLer 11.

Cnto|og|ca| mon|sm comb|ned w|th ep|stemo|og|ca| dua||sm

Pow can one reconclle Lhe evldence LhaL consclous experlences are causally effecLlve
wlLh Lhe prlnclple LhaL Lhe physlcal world ls causally closed? Cne slmple way ls Lo
accepL LhaL for each lndlvldual Lhere ls ooe "menLal llfe" buL two ways of knowlng lL:
flrsL-person knowledge and Lhlrd-person knowledge. lrom a flrsL-person perspecLlve
consclous experlences appear causally effecLlve. lrom a Lhlrd-person perspecLlve Lhe
same causal sequences can be explalned ln neural Lerms. lL ls noL Lhe case LhaL Lhe
vlew from one perspecLlve ls rlghL and Lhe oLher wrong. 1hese perspecLlves are
complemenLary. 1he dlfferences beLween how Lhlngs appear from a flrsL- versus a
Lhlrd-person perspecLlve has Lo do wlLh dlfferences ln Lhe obsetvotloool ottooqemeots
(Lhe means by whlch a sub[ecL and an exLernal observer access Lhe sub[ecL's menLal

Lets see how this might work in practice. Suppose you have a calmlng lmage of lylng
in a green field on a summers day, and you can feel the difference this makes in
produclng a relaxed sLaLe, slowlng your breaLhlng, removlng Lhe Lenslon ln your body
and so on. ?ou glve a causal accounL of whaL ls golng on, based on whaL you
experience. From my external observers perspective, I can also observe what is
golng onbuL whaL l observe ls a llLLle dlfferenL. l can measure Lhe effecLs on your
breaLhlng and muscle Lenslon, buL no maLLer how closely l lnspecL your braln, l
cannoL observe your experlenced lmage. 1he closesL l can geL Lo lL are lLs neural
correlaLes ln Lhe vlsual sysLem, assoclaLlon areas and so on.
neverLheless, lf l could
observe all Lhe neurophyslologlcal evenLs operaLlng ln your braln Lo produce your
relaxed bodlly sLaLe, l could glve a compleLe, physlcal accounL of whaL ls golng on.
So, now you have a flrsL-person accounL of whaL ls golng on LhaL makes sense Lo you
and l have a Lhlrd-person accounL of whaL ls golng on LhaL makes sense Lo me. Pow
do Lhese relaLe? 1o undersLand Lhls we need Lo examlne Lhe relaLlon of your vlsual
lmage Lo lLs neural correlaLes wlLh care.

1he neura| corre|ates of consc|ous exper|ence

AlLhough we know llLLle abouL Lhe physlcal naLure of Lhe neural correlaLes of
consclous experlences, Lhere are Lhree plauslble, funcLlonal consLralnLs lmposed by
Lhe phenomenology of consclousness lLself. normal human consclous experlences
are represenLaLlonal (phenomenal consclousness ls always of someLhlng).
Clven Lhls, lL

1he neural correlaLes of a glven experlence accompany or co-occot wlLh glven experlences, and are
by definition as close as one get to those experiences from an external observers perspective. This
dlfferenLlaLes Lhem from Lhe anLecedenL causes (such as Lhe operaLlon of selecLlve aLLenLlon, blndlng,
eLc.) whlch may be LhoughL of as Lhe necessary and sufflclenL ptlot condlLlons for glven experlences ln
Lhe human braln.
My assumpLlon LhaL normal consclous experlences are represenLaLlonal ls drlven by a CrlLlcal 8eallsL
eplsLemology (developed ln velmans, 2000, chapLer 7) and noL by any commlLmenL Lo Lhe vlew LhaL
menLal sLaLes are noLhlng more Lhan compuLaLlons on represenLaLlons (a Lhesls LhaL ls currenLly ln
dlspuLe). Whlle l do noL have space Lo develop Lhe case for CrlLlcal 8eallsm here, lL ls worLh noLlng
LhaL Lhere ls noLhlng mysLerlous abouL experlences belng represenLaLlons of enLlLles and evenLs ouLslde
of or wlLhln our bodles and bralns LhaL dlffer ln some respecLs from Lhe alLernaLlve represenLaLlons of
ls reasonable Lo assume LhaL Lhe neural correlaLes of such experlences are also
represenLaLlonal sLaLes.

AlLhough Lhls assumpLlon has noL always been made expllclL ln Lheorles of
consclousness lL ls largely Laken for granLed ln psychologlcal Lheory. sychophyslcs,
for example, Lakes lL for granLed LhaL for any dlscrlmlnable aspecL of experlences (a
[usL noLlceable change ln brlghLness, colour, plLch and so on) Lhere wlll be a
correlaLed change ln some sLaLe of Lhe braln. lL follows from Lhls LhaL Lhe
lnformaLlon encoded ln experlence (ln Lerms of dlscrlmlnable dlfferences) wlll also
be encoded ln Lhe braln. 1he same ls Lrue for Lhe more complex conLenLs of
consclousness, ln Lhe many cognlLlve Lheorles LhaL assoclaLe (or ldenLlfy) such
conLenLs wlLh lnformaLlon sLored ln prlmary (worklng) memory, lnformaLlon aL Lhe
focus of aLLenLlon, lnformaLlon ln a global workspace and so on.

A represenLaLlonal sLaLe musL, of course, represenL sometbloq, LhaL ls lL musL have a
glven conLenL. lor a glven physlcal sLaLe Lo be Lhe correlaLe of a glven experlence lL ls
plauslble Lo assume LhaL lL represenLs Lhe some Lhlng (oLherwlse lL would noL be Lhe
correlaLe of tbot experlence).

llnally, for a physlcal sLaLe Lo be Lhe correlaLe of a glven experlence, lL ls reasonable
Lo suppose that it has the same grain. That is, for every discriminable attribute of
experlence Lhere wlll be a dlsLlncL, correlaLed, physlcal sLaLe. As each experlence and
lLs physlcal correlaLe represenLs Lhe same Lhlng lL follows LhaL each experlence and
lLs physlcal correlaLe encodes Lhe same lnformaLlon abouL LhaL Lhlng. 1haL ls, Lhey
are represenLaLlons wlLh Lhe same lofotmotloo sttoctote.


Lhose enLlLles and evenLs glven by sclence (e.g. by physlcs). ercepLual processes are llkely Lo have
developed ln response Lo evoluLlonary pressures, and selecL, aLLend Lo, and lnLerpreL lnformaLlon ln
accordance wlLh human adapLlve needs. ConsequenLly, Lhey only need Lo model a subseL of Lhe avallable
lnformaLlon. AL Lhe same Llme our percepLual models musL be useful, oLherwlse lL ls unllkely LhaL human
belngs would have survlved. Clven Lhls, lL seems reasonable Lo assume LhaL, barrlng llluslons or
halluclnaLlons, Lhe experlences produced by percepLual processlng are parLlal, approxlmaLe buL
nonetheless useful representation of what is really there. 1he vlew LhaL some consclous experlences
are representational in the sense of being intentional (that they are of someLhlng) has ln any case
been wldely accepLed ln phllosophy of mlnd slnce 8renLano relnLroduced Lhls medleval noLlon ln Lhe
CenLury. Accordlng Lo some phllosophers noL all consclous experlences are lnLenLlonal. Searle
(1994b) for example maintains that a feeling of pain or a sudden sense of anxiety, where there ls no
object of the anxiety, are not intentional. (p380) In Velmans (1990, 2000) I argue that a conscious
experlence does noL have Lo be abouL a speclflc exLernal ob[ecL for lL Lo be represenLaLlonal. lL may
for example represent a state of ones own body or lL may represenL a global teoctloo Lo a real,
imagined or remembered event. A feeling of pain, for example, represents (in ones first person
experlence) acLual or poLenLlal damage Lo Lhe body, and lL ls usually qulLe accuraLe ln LhaL lL ls
normally sub[ecLlvely locaLed aL or near Lhe slLe of body damage. A feellng of anxleLy ls a flrsL-person
represenLaLlon of a sLaLe of ones own body and braln LhaL slgnals acLual or poLenLlal danger, and so
on. vlewed Lhls way, oll consclous sLaLes are abouL someLhlng. Cn Lhls lssue, l adopL Lhe same sLance
as LhaL developed by 1ye (1993).
1hls assumpLlon of consclous experlence/ neural correlaLe funcLlonal equlvalence (deflned ln
lnformaLlon processlng Lerms) ls a polnL of convergence beLween oLherwlse wldely dlvergenL Lheorles
(physlcallsm, funcLlonallsm, dual-aspecL Lheory). As Cardner (1987) polnLs ouL, Lhe assumpLlon LhaL
menLal processes operaLe on represenLaLlons lles aL Lhe foundaLlons of cognlLlve sclence. Powever,
Lhe clalm LhaL Lhe neural correlaLes of consclous sLaLes are represenLaLlons begs no quesLlons abouL
Lhe forms LhaL Lhese represenLaLlons mlghL Lake, or abouL how menLal processes operaLe on Lhem.

lf Lhese assumpLlons are well founded, your experlence and Lhe neural correlaLes LhaL
l observe wlll relaLe Lo each oLher ln a very preclse way. WhaL you experlence Lakes
Lhe form of vlsual or oLher lmagery accompanled by feellngs abouL lylng on Lhe grass
on a summery day. WhaL l observe ls tbe some lofotmotloo (abouL Lhe vlsual scene)
encoded ln Lhe physlcal correlaLes of whaL you experlence ln your braln. 1he
lnformaLlon sLrucLure of whaL you and l observe ls ldenLlcal, alLhough lL ls dlsplayed
or formatted in very different ways. From your point of view, the only information
you have abouL your own sLaLe of mlnd ls Lhe lmagery and accompanylng feellngs
LhaL you experlence. lrom my polnL of vlew, Lhe only lnformaLlon you have (abouL
your own sLaLe of mlnd) ls Lhe lnformaLlon l can see encoded ln your braln. 1he way
your lnformaLlon (abouL your own sLaLe) ls dlsplayed appears Lo be very dlfferenL Lo
you and me for the reason that the observational arrangements by which we
access LhaL lnformaLlon are enLlrely dlfferenL. lrom my exLernal, Lhlrd-person
perspecLlve l can only access Lhe lnformaLlon encoded ln your mlnd/braln by means
of my vlsual or oLher exLerocepLlve sysLems alded by approprlaLe equlpmenL. WlLh
Lhese means l can deLecL Lhe lnformaLlon dlsplayed ln Lhe form of neural encodlngs,
buL noL ln Lhe form of accompanylng experlences. Whlle you malnLaln your focus on
Lhe lmaged scene, you cannoL observe lLs neural correlaLes ln your own braln (you
would need Lo use my equlpmenL for LhaL). neverLheless, Lhe lnformaLlon ln Lhose
correlates displays naturally
, ln Lhe form of Lhe lmaged scene LhaL you experlence.

8epresenLaLlons mlghL be lconlc, proposlLlonal, feaLure seLs, proLoLypes, procedural, locallsed,
dlsLrlbuLed, sLaLlc or dynamlc, or whaLever. CperaLlons mlghL be formal and compuLaLlonal, or more
llke Lhe paLLerns of shlfLlng welghLs and probablllLles LhaL deLermlne Lhe acLlvaLlon paLLerns ln neural
neLworks. l suggesL LhaL Lhe correlaLes of consclousness represenL whaL Lhe phenomenology lLself
represenLs, lrrespecLlve of how Lhe correlaLes embody Lhose represenLaLlons.
This approach has its origins in Spinozas dual-aspecL Lheory, whlch l developed lnLo a naLurallsed,
dual-aspecL Lheory of lnformaLlon ln velmans (1991a, b, 1993, 1996, 2000). 1hls dual-aspecL Lheory of
lnformaLlon also has slmllarlLles Lo LhaL adopLed by Chalmers (1996) (see velmans, 2000, p281, noLe 3
for a summary of boLh Lhe slmllarlLles and dlfferences). noLe LhaL havlng an ldenLlcal referenL and
lnformaLlon sLrucLure does noL mean LhaL experlences are ootbloq mote tboo Lhelr neural correlaLes
(as eliminativists and reductionists assume). A filmed version of the play Hamlet, recorded on
vldeoLape, for example, may have Lhe same sequenLlal lnformaLlon sLrucLure as Lhe same play
dlsplayed ln Lhe form of successlve, movlng plcLures on a 1v screen. 8uL lL ls obvlous LhaL Lhe
lnformaLlon on Lhe vldeoLape ls noL onLologlcally ldenLlcal Lo Lhe lnformaLlon dlsplayed on Lhe screen.
ln Lhls lnsLance, Lhe same lnformaLlon ls embodled ln Lwo dlfferenL ways (paLLerns of magneLlc
varlaLlon on Lape versus paLLerns of brlghLness and hue ln lndlvldual plxels on screen) and lL ls
displayed or formatted in two different ways (only the latter display ls ln vlslble form).
l assume lL Lo be a oototol facL abouL Lhe world LhaL cerLaln forms of neural acLlvlLy are
accompanled by consclous experlences. ConsequenLly, when such neural acLlvlLles (Lhe correlaLes)
occur in ones brain one has the correspondlng experlences. l also assume LhaL Lhe formaLLlng of
neurally encoded lnformaLlon relaLes Lo Lhe formaLLlng of correspondlng, phenomenally encoded
lnformaLlon ln an orderly way, wlLh dlscoverable neural sLaLe space/phenomenal space mapplngs. An
obvlous example would be Lhe way LhaL lnformaLlon abouL spaLlal locaLlon and exLenslon encoded ln
Lhe braln ls mapped lnLo Lhe 3u phenomenal space LhaL we ordlnarlly experlence. ln vlslon, some
progress has already been made ln Lhe dlscovery of such mapplngs (see Lhe Speclal lssue on Lhe work
of 8oger Shepard ln 8ebovlootol ooJ 8tolo 5cleoces, 24 (4), 2001). Whlle neural sLaLe/ phenomenal
sLaLe mapplngs are llkely Lo dlffer ln dlfferenL sense modallLles (e.g. vlslon versus audlLlon) and even
beLween dlfferenL feaLures of a glven modallLy (e.g. colour versus spaLlal locaLlon and exLenslon)
Lhere may also be shared, underlylng prlnclples (cf SLoffregen & 8enoiL, 2001).
8uL whaL ls your mlnd teolly like? From my external observers perspective, can I
assume LhaL whaL you experlence ls really noLhlng more Lhan Lhe physlcal correlaLes
LhaL l can observe? lrom my exLernal perspecLlve, do l know whaL ls golng on ln
your mlnd/braln/consclousness beLLer Lhan you do? no. l know someLhlng abouL
your menLal sLaLes LhaL you do noL know (Lhelr physlcal embodlmenL). 8uL you know
someLhlng abouL Lhem LhaL l do noL know (Lhelr manlfesLaLlon ln your experlence).
Such flrsL- and Lhlrd-person lnformaLlon ls complemeototy. We need your flrsL-
person sLory and my Lhlrd-person sLory for a compleLe accounL of whaL ls golng on. lf
so, Lhe naLure of Lhe mlnd ls revealed as much by how lL appears from one
perspecLlve as Lhe oLher. lL ls noL eltbet physlcal ot consclous experlence, lL ls aL
once physlcal ooJ consclous experlence (dependlng on Lhe observaLlonal
arrangemenLs). lor lack of a beLLer Lerm we may descrlbe Lhls naLure as
13, 14
lf we comblne Lhls wlLh Lhe represenLaLlonal feaLures above, we
can say LhaL mlnd ls a psychophyslcal process LhaL encodes lnformaLlon, developlng
over Llme.

An |n|t|a| way to make sense of the causa| |nteract|ons between consc|ousness and

1he sLruggle Lo flnd a model or even a form of words LhaL somehow capLures Lhe dual-aspecL
naLure of mlnd ls remlnlscenL for example of wave-parLlcle complemenLarlLy ln quanLum mechanlcs
alLhough Lhls analogy ls far from exacL. LlghL elLher appears Lo behave as elecLromagneLlc waves or as
phoLon parLlcles dependlng on Lhe observaLlon arrangemenLs. And lL does noL make sense Lo clalm
LhaL elecLromagneLlc waves really ote parLlcles (or vlce versa). A compleLe undersLandlng of llghL requlres
boLh complemenLary descrlpLlons wlLh consequenL sLruggles Lo flnd an approprlaLe way of
characLerlzlng the nature of light and other QM phenomena which encompass both descriptions (wave-
packets, electron clouds and so on). This has not prevented physics from developing very precise
accounLs of llghL vlewed eltbet as waves ot as parLlcles, LogeLher wlLh preclse formulae for relaLlng wave-
llke properLles (such as elecLromagneLlc frequency) Lo parLlcle-llke ones (such as phoLon energy). lf flrsL-
and Lhlrd person accounLs of consclousness and lLs physlcal correlaLes are complemenLary and muLually
lrreduclble, an analogous psychological complementarity principle might be required to understand the
naLure of mlnd. A more deLalled dlscusslon of how psychologlcal complemenLarlLy relaLes Lo physlcal
complemenLarlLy ls glven ln velmans (2000) ch11, noLe 19.
AL Lhe macrocosmlc level, Lhe relaLlon of elecLrlclLy Lo magneLlsm also provldes a clear parallel Lo
Lhe form of dual-aspecL Lheory l have ln mlnd. lf one moves a wlre Lhrough a magneLlc fleld Lhls
produces an elecLrlcal currenL ln Lhe wlre. Conversely, lf one passes an elecLrlcal currenL Lhrough a
wlre Lhls produces a surroundlng magneLlc fleld. 8uL lL does noL make sense Lo suggesL LhaL Lhe
currenL ln Lhe wlre ls noLhlng more Lhan Lhe surroundlng magneLlc fleld, or vlce-versa (reducLlonlsm).
nor ls lL accuraLe Lo suggesL LhaL elecLrlclLy and magneLlsm are energles of enLlrely dlfferenL klnds
LhaL happen Lo lnLeracL (duallsL-interactionism). Rather these are two manifestations (or dual-
aspects) of electtomoqoetlsm, a more fundamenLal energy LhaL grounds and unlfles boLh, descrlbed
with elegance by Maxwells Laws. Analogously, phenomenally encoded information and its correlated
neurally encoded information may be two manifestations (or dual-aspects) of a more fundamental,
psychophyslcal mlnd, and Lhelr relaLlonshlp may, ln Llme, be descrlbable by neurophenomenologlcal
laws (see also noLe 12 above). lL goes wlLhouL saylng LhaL a folly saLlsfylng psychophyslcal accounL of
any glven menLal sLaLe would have Lo speclfy how glven complemenLary flrsL- and Lhlrd-person
descrlpLlons relaLe Lo each wlLh preclslon (perhaps wlLh Lhe elegance of Maxwell's Laws). Powever,
such emplrlcal relaLlonshlps can only be dlscovered by neuropsychologlcal research, and for Lhe
presenL l am only concerned wlLh Lhe fotm LhaL causal accounLs based on such research mlghL need
to take to resolve this aspect of the causal paradox.
1hls brlef analysls of how flrsL- and Lhlrd-person accounLs relaLe Lo each oLher can be
used Lo make sense of Lhe dlfferenL fotms of causal lnLeracLlon LhaL are Laken for
granLed ln everyday llfe or suggesLed ln Lhe cllnlcal and sclenLlflc llLeraLure.
hyslcalphyslcal causal accounLs descrlbe evenLs from an enLlrely Lhlrd-person
perspective (they are pure third-person accounts). MentalmenLal causal accounLs
descrlbe evenLs enLlrely from a flrsL-person perspective (they are pure first-person
accounts). PhysicalmenLal and menLalphyslcal causal accounLs are mlxeJ-
petspectlve accounLs employlng petspectlvol swltcbloq (velmans, 1996b). Such
accounLs sLarL wlLh a descrlpLlon of causes vlewed from one perspecLlve (elLher flrsL- or
Lhlrd-person) and Lhen swlLch Lo a descrlpLlon of effecLs vlewed from Lhe oLher
perspecLlve. 1o undersLand such accounLs, one flrsL has Lo acknowledge LhaL a
perspecLlval swlLch has Laken place.

hyslcalmenLal causal accounLs sLarL wlLh evenLs vlewed from a Lhlrd-person
perspecLlve and swlLch Lo how Lhlngs appear from a flrsL-person perspecLlve. lor
example, a causal accounL of vlsual percepLlon sLarLs wlLh a Lhlrd-person descrlpLlon of
Lhe physlcal sLlmulus and Lhe vlsual sysLem buL Lhen swlLches Lo a flrsL-person accounL
of whaL Lhe sub[ecL experlences. MenLalphyslcal causal accounLs swlLch Lhe oLher
way. lrom your sub[ecLlve polnL of vlew, for example, Lhe lmagery LhaL you experlence
ls causlng your hearL raLe Lo slow down and your body Lo relax (effecLs LhaL l can
measure). lf l could ldenLlfy Lhe exacL neural correlaLes of whaL you experlence, lL mlghL
be posslble for me Lo glve an enLlrely Lhlrd-person accounL of Lhls sequence of evenLs
(ln Lerms of hlgher order neural represenLaLlons havlng Lop-down effecLs on oLher
braln and body sLaLes). 8uL Lhe mlxed-perspecLlve accounL acLually glves you a more
lmmedlaLely useful descrlpLlon of whaL ls golng on ln Lerms of Lhe Lhlngs LhaL you can
do (malnLaln LhaL sLaLe of mlnd, deepen lL, alLer lL, and so on).

ln prlnclple, complemenLary flrsL- and Lhlrd-person sources of lnformaLlon can be
found whenever body or mlnd/braln sLaLes are represenLed ln some way ln
sub[ecLlve experlence. A paLlenL mlghL for example have lnslghL lnLo Lhe naLure of a
psychologlcal problem (vla feellngs and LhoughLs), LhaL a cllnlclan mlghL lnvesLlgaLe
by observlng hls/her braln or behavlour. ln medlcal dlagnosls, a paLlenL mlghL have
access Lo some malfuncLlon vla lnLerocepLors, produclng sympLoms such as paln and
dlscomforL, whereas a docLor mlghL be able Lo ldenLlfy Lhe cause vla hls/her
exLerocepLors (eyes, ears and so on) supplemenLed by medlcal lnsLrumenLaLlon. As
wlLh consclous sLaLes and Lhelr neural correlaLes Lhe cllnlclan has access Lo Lhe
physlcal embodlmenL of such condlLlons, whlle Lhe paLlenL has access Lo how such
condlLlons are experlenced. ln Lhese slLuaLlons, nelLher Lhe Lhlrd-person lnformaLlon
avallable Lo Lhe cllnlclan nor Lhe flrsL-person lnformaLlon avallable Lo Lhe paLlenL ls
ootomotlcolly privileged or objective in the sense of being observer-free. The
cllnlclan merely reporLs whaL he/she observes or lnfers abouL whaL ls golng on (uslng
avallable means) and Lhe paLlenL does llkewlse. Such flrsL- and Lhlrd person accounLs
of the subjects mental life or body states are complementary, and mutually
lrreduclble. 1okeo toqetbet, Lhey provlde a global, psychophyslcal plcLure of Lhe
condlLlon under scruLlny.

Consc|ous exper|ences are current, g|oba| representat|ons formed by the m|nd]bra|n

1he above, l hope, glves an lnlLlal lndlcaLlon of how one can reconclle Lhe evldence
LhaL consclous experlences appear causally effecLlve wlLh Lhe prlnclple LhaL Lhe
physlcal world ls causally closed. 8uL Lhere are Lwo furLher, equally perplexlng
problems. Pow can consclous experlences be causally effecLlve lf Lhey come Loo laLe
Lo affecL Lhe mlnd/braln processes Lo whlch Lhey mosL obvlously relaLe? And how
can Lhe conLenLs of consclousness affecL braln and body sLaLes when one ls noL
consclous of Lhe blologlcal processes LhaL govern Lhose sLaLes?

l suggesL LhaL Lo make sense of Lhese puzzles, one has Lo begln by accepLlng Lhe facLs
raLher Lhan sweeplng Lhem under some obscurlng LheoreLlcal carpeL. Why do
experlences come Loo laLe Lo affecL Lhe mlnd/braln processes Lo whlch Lhey mosL
closely relaLe? lor Lhe slmple reason LhaL experlences relaLe mosL closely Lo Lhe
processes LhaL ptoJoce them. Visual perception becomes conscious once visual
processlng resulLs ln a consclous vlsual experlence, cognlLlve processlng becomes
conscious once it produces the inner speech that forms a conscious thought and so
on. Cnce such experlences arlse Lhe processes LhaL have produced Lhem have already
Laken place. Clven Lhls, whaL ls consclousness acLually conLrlbuLlng Lo consclous
percepLlon, Lo consclous speech, Lo consclous LhoughL, Lo consclous volunLary
conLrol, and so on?

As noLed above, l am proceedlng on Lhe assumpLlon LhaL consclous experlences are
represenLaLlons. Some experlences represenL sLaLes of Lhe exLernal world
(exLerocepLlve experlences), some represenL sLaLes of Lhe body (lnLerocepLlve

ln velmans (1991) l argue LhaL Lhere are Lhree dlsLlncL senses ln whlch a process may be sald Lo be
consclous. lL can be consclous a) ln Lhe sense LhaL one ls consclous of lL, b) ln Lhe sense LhaL lL tesolts
ln a consclous experlence, and c) ln Lhe sense LhaL consclousness coosolly offects LhaL process. We do
noL have lnLrospecLlve access Lo how Lhe preconsclous cognlLlve processes LhaL enable Lhlnklng produce
individual, conscious thoughts in the form of inner speech. However, the content of such thoughts and
Lhe sequence ln whlch Lhey appear does glve some lnslghL lnLo Lhe way Lhe cognlLlve processes (of whlch
Lhey are manlfesLaLlons) operaLe over Llme ln problem solvlng, Lhlnklng, plannlng and so on.
ConsequenLly such cognlLlve processes are parLly consclous ln sense (a), buL only ln so far as Lhelr deLalled
operaLlon ls made expllclL ln consclous LhoughLs, Lhereby becomlng accesslble Lo lnLrospecLlon. Many
psychologlcal processes are consclous ln sense (b), buL noL ln sense (a)LhaL ls, we are noL consclous of
how Lhey operaLe, buL we are consclous of Lhelr tesolts. 1hls applles Lo percepLlon ln all sense modallLles.
When consclously readlng Lhls senLence for example you become aware of Lhe prlnLed LexL on Lhe page,
accompanled, perhaps, by lnner speech (phonemlc lmagery) and a feellng of undersLandlng (or noL), buL
you have no lnLrospecLlve access Lo Lhe processes whlch enable you Lo read. nor does one have
lnLrospecLlve access Lo Lhe Jetolls of mosL oLher forms of cognlLlve funcLlonlng, for example Lo Lhe
detailed operations which enable conscious learning, remembering, engaging in conversations with
oLhers and so on.
Cruclally, havlng an experlence LhaL glves some lnLrospecLlve access Lo a glven process, or havlng
Lhe resulLs of LhaL process manlfesL ln an experlence, says noLhlng abouL wheLher LhaL experlence cottles
oot that process. That is, whether a process is conscious in sense (a) or (b) needs Lo dlsLlngulshed from
wheLher lL ls consclous ln sense (c). lndeed, lL ls noL easy Lo envlsage how Lhe experlence LhaL makes a
process consclous ln sense (a) or (b), coolJ make lL consclous ln sense (c). Consclousness of a physlcal
process does noL make consclousness responslble for Lhe operaLlon of LhaL process (waLchlng a keLLle
does noL deLermlne when lL comes Lo Lhe boll). So, how could consclousness of a menLal process carry
ouL Lhe funcLlons of LhaL process? AlLernaLlvely, lf consclous experlence tesolts from a menLal process lL
arrlves too lote Lo carry ouL Lhe funcLlons of LhaL process (see velmans, 2000, chapLer 9 for a more
deLalled dlscusslon).
experlences), and some represenL sLaLes of Lhe mlnd/braln lLself (vollLlons, LhoughLs
abouL LhoughLs, eLc.). Lxperlences can also represenL pasL, fuLure, real and lmaglnary
evenLs, for example ln Lhe form of LhoughLs and lmages.

WhaLever Lhelr represenLaLlonal conLenL, currenL experlences also Lell one someLhlng
important about the current state of ones own mind/brainLhaL lL currenLly has
percepLs, feellngs, LhoughLs, lmages, eLc., of a glven Lype, and LhaL lL has formed
currenL represenLaLlons wlLh LhaL parLlcular conLenL, as opposed Lo any oLhers. lor
example, Lhe thoughts that enter consciousness at a given moment represent the
current state of ones own cognitive system in that they reveal wblcb of many
posslble cognlLlons are currenLly aL Lhe focus of aLLenLlon ln a reporLable form. lf
your LhoughLs are consclous, and l ask you whaL you are Lhlnklng abouL, you can Lell
me. Llkewlse, your vlsually lmaged peaceful world and your consclous feellngs abouL
lL represenL a currenL, volunLarlly produced represenLaLlonal sLaLe (and affecLlve
responses Lo lL) wlLhln your own vlsual, cognlLlve and affecLlve sysLemsand lf l
wanL Lo know whaL LhaL ls llke, you can Lell me.

Why dont we have more detailed experiences of the processes which produce such
consclous experlences, or of Lhe deLalled worklngs of our own bodles, mlnds and
brains? Because for normal purposes we dont need them! Our prlmary need ls Lo
lnLeracL successfully wlLh Lhe exLernal world and wlLh each oLherand for LhaL, Lhe
processes by whlch we arrlve aL represenLaLlons of ourselves ln Lhe world, or whlch
govern Lhe many lnLernal, adapLlve ad[usLmenLs we have Lo make are besL lefL on
automatic. This is exemplified by the well-accepLed LranslLlon of skllls from belng
consclous Lo belng nonconsclous as Lhey become well learnL (as ln readlng or drlvlng a
car). 1he global represenLaLlons LhaL we have of ourselves ln Lhe world neverLheless
provlde a useful, reasonable accuraLe represenLaLlon of whaL ls golng on.

now to make sense of the causa| ro|e of the contents of consc|ousness

As noLed above, normal experlences are of someLhlng l.e., Lhey represenL enLlLles,
evenLs and processes ln Lhe exLernal world, Lhe body and Lhe mlnd/braln lLself. ln
everyday life, we also behave as nave realists. That is we take the events we
experlence Lo be Lhe evenLs LhaL are acLually Laklng place, alLhough sclences such as
physlcs, blology and psychology mlghL represenL Lhe same evenLs ln very dlfferenL
ways. lor everyday purposes, Lhe assumpLlon LhaL Lhe world [usL ls as we experlence
lL Lo be serves us well. When playlng bllllards, for example, lL ls safe Lo assume LhaL
Lhe balls are smooLh, spherlcal, coloured, and cause each oLher Lo move by
mechanlcal lmpacL. Cne only has Lo [udge Lhe preclse angle aL whlch Lhe whlLe ball
hlLs Lhe red ball Lo pockeL Lhe red. A quanLum mechanlcal descrlpLlon of Lhe
mlcrosLrucLure of Lhe balls or of the forces they exert on each other wont improve
ones game.

lL ls reasonable Lo suppose LhaL Lhe deLall of consclous represenLaLlon has been Lallored by
evoluLlonary pressures Lo be useful for everyday human acLlvlLles (alLhough Lhese remaln global,
approxlmaLe and specles-speclflc). 1o obLaln a more lnLrlcaLe knowledge of Lhe exLernal world, body or
mlnd/braln we usually need Lhe asslsLance of sclenLlflc lnsLrumenLs. A much fuller analysls of Lhese polnLs
ls glven ln velmans (2000) chapLer 7.

1haL sald, Lhe experlenced world ls noL Lhe world lo ltselfand lL ls noL our
experlence of Lhe balls LhaL governs Lhe movemenL of Lhe balls Lhemselves. 8alls as-
experlenced and Lhelr percelved lnLeracLlons are global tepteseototloos of
auLonomously exlsLlng enLlLles and Lhelr lnLeracLlons, and consclous represenLaLlons
of such enLlLles or evenLs can only be formed once Lhey exlsL, or afLer Lhey have
Laken place. 1he same may be sald of Lhe evenLs and processes LhaL we experlence
Lo occur ln our own bodles or mlnds/bralns. When we wlLhdraw a hand qulckly from
a hoL lron, we experlence Lhe paln (ln Lhe hand) Lo cause whaL we do, buL Lhe reflex
acLlon acLually Lakes place before Lhe experlence of paln has Llme Lo form. 1hls can
also happen wlLh volunLary movemenLs. Suppose, for example, LhaL you are requlred
Lo press a buLLon as soon as you feel a LacLlle sLlmulus applled Lo your skln. A Lyplcal
reacLlon Llme ls 100 ms or so. lL Lakes only a few mllllseconds for Lhe skln sLlmulus Lo
reach Lhe corLlcal surface, buL LlbeL, eL al. (1979) found LhaL awareness of Lhe sLlmulus
Lakes aL leasL 200 ms Lo develop. lf so, Lhe reacLlon musL Lake place preconsclously,
alLhough we expetleoce ourselves as respondlng oftet we feel someLhlng Louchlng Lhe
skln. 1he mlnd/braln requlres Llme Lo form a consclous represenLaLlon of a paln or of
someLhlng Louchlng Lhe skln and of Lhe subsequenL response. AlLhough Lhe consclous
represenLaLlons accuraLely place Lhe cause (Lhe sLlmulus) before Lhe effecL (Lhe
response), once Lhe represenLaLlons are formed, boLh Lhe sLlmulus and Lhe response
have already Laken place.

!usL as Lhe lnLeracLlons amongsL experlenced bllllard balls represenL causal sequences
ln Lhe exLernal world, buL are noL Lhe evenLs Lhemselves, experlenced lnLeracLlons
beLween our sensaLlons, LhoughLs, lmages and acLlons represenL causal sequences
wlLhln our bodles and bralns, buL are noL Lhe evenLs Lhemselves. 1he LhoughLs, lmages,
and feellngs LhaL appear ln our awareness are boLh qeoetoteJ by processes ln our
bodles and mlnd/bralns and tepteseot Lhe currenL sLaLes of Lhose processes. 1houghLs
and lmages represenL Lhe ongolng sLaLe of play of our cognlLlve sysLems, feellngs
represenL our lnLernal (poslLlve and negaLlve) reacLlons Lo and [udgemenLs abouL
evenLs (see Mangan, 1993, and Lhe dlscusslon above).

ln sum, consclous represenLaLlons of lnner, body and exLernal evenLs are noL Lhe
evenLs Lhemselves, buL Lhey generally represenL Lhose evenLs and Lhelr causal
lnLeracLlons sufflclenLly well Lo allow a falrly accuraLe undersLandlng of whaL ls
happenlng ln our llves. AlLhough Lhey are only tepteseototloos of evenLs and Lhelr
causal lnLeracLlons, for everyday purposes we can Lake Lhem Lo be Lhose evenLs and

AlLhough consclous experlences arlse Loo laLe Lo play a causal role ln Lhe processes wlLh whlch Lhey
are mosL closely assoclaLed (Lhose LhaL produce Lhem), once Lhey arlse, Lhey are noL, of course, Loo
laLe Lo play a causal role ln oLher, sobsepoeot mlnd/braln/body sLaLes or acLlvlLles. A paln ln Lhe
LooLh, for example, mlghL perslsL long enough Lo force one Lo Lhe denLlsL. A deslre for employmenL
mlghL lead Lo make a [ob appllcaLlon and so on. Powever such forms of menLalphyslcal causaLlon
sLlll face Lhe problem (already dlscussed) LhaL Lhe physlcal world ls causally closed. lor example, Lhe
physlcal movemenLs LhaL Lake one Lo Lhe denLlsL can be explalned by Lhe way LhaL Lhe neural
correlaLes of Lhe paln enLer lnLo Lhe conLrol of moLor sysLems, Lhe deslre for employmenL ln Lerms of
a goal state that is represented in ones CNS and so on. Such forms of mental causation can, however,
be understood as mixed-perspective causal accounts of the kind described above. See also the
exLenslve LreaLmenL of Lhls parLlcular lssue ln dlscusslon wlLh 8akover ln velmans (1996b).
Lhelr causal lnLeracLlons. When we play bllllards we can llne up a shoL wlLhouL Lhe
asslsLance of physlcs. AlLhough our knowledge of our own lnner sLaLes ls noL
lncorrlglble, when we experlence our verbal LhoughLs expressed ln coverL or overL
speech, we usually know all we need Lo know abouL whaL we currenLly Lhlnk
wlLhouL Lhe asslsLance of cognlLlve psychology. When we experlence ourselves Lo
have acLed ouL of love or fear, we usually have an adequaLe undersLandlng of our
moLlvaLlon---alLhough a neuropsychologlsL mlghL flnd lL useful Lo glve a Lhlrd-person
accounL of emoLlon ln Lerms of lLs neural subsLraLes ln Lhe neocorLlcal, subcorLlcal,
dlencephallc, mldbraln and ponLlne-medullary bralnsLem sysLems (WaLL, 2000). And
when we lmage ourselves ln green grass on a summers day and feel relaxed we are
usually rlghL Lo assume LhaL Lhe menLal sLaLe LhaL ls represenLed ln our lmagery has
produced a real bodily effect. For everyday life, it doesnt matter that we dont
undersLand how such lmaged scenarlos are consLrucLed by preconsclous menLal
processes or exerclse Lop-down conLrol ln Lhe mlnd/braln/body sysLem. lL ls noL Lhe
case LhaL a lower level (mlcroscoplc) represenLaLlon ls always beLLer Lhan a
macroscoplc one (ln Lhe case of bllllard balls). nor are Lhlrd-person accounLs always
beLLer Lhan flrsL-person ones (ln descrlblng or aLLempLlng Lo conLrol our LhoughLs,
lmages and emoLlons). 1he value of a glven represenLaLlon, descrlpLlon or
explanaLlon can only be assessed ln Lhe llghL of Lhe purposes for whlch lL ls Lo be

Whos in control?

1he dlfference beLween volunLary and lnvolunLary bodlly funcLlons ls accepLed
wlsdom, enshrlned ln Lhe volunLary/auLonomlc nervous sysLem dlsLlncLlon ln
medlcal LexLs. As we have seen above, some processes LhaL are normally lnvolunLary
can also become parLly volunLary once Lhey are represenLed ln consclousness (vla
biofeedback, imagery and so on). But if we dont have a detailed conscious
awareness of Lhe worklngs of our own bodles and bralns and lf consclousness comes
Loo laLe Lo affecL Lhe processes Lo whlch lL mosL closely relaLes how can Lhls be?
Consider again the dilemma posed by Libet et als (1979) experiments on the role of
consclous vollLlon descrlbed above. lf Lhe braln prepares Lo carry ouL a glven acLlon
around 330 mllllseconds before Lhe consclous wlsh Lo acL appears, Lhen how could
that action be conscious and how could it be voluntary? Doesnt the preceding
readlness poLenLlal lndlcaLe LhaL Lhe acLlon ls deLermlned preconsclously and
auLomaLlcally by processlng ln Lhe mlnd/braln?

Let us consider the conscious aspect first. The decision to act (indexed by the
readlness poLenLlal) ls Laken preconsclously buL lL becomes consclous aL Lhe momenL
LhaL lL manlfesLs os a wlsh Lo do someLhlng ln consclous experlence. 1he wlsh Lhen
becomes consclous ln Lhe same way LhaL your percepLlon of Lhls WC8u ls consclous.
Llke Lhe wlsh, once you become consclous of Lhls WC8u, Lhe physlcal, synLacLlc and
semanLlc analyses requlred Lo recognlse lL have already Laken place. noneLheless,
once you become consclous of Lhe wlsh or Lhe WC8u Lhe menLal/braln processes
make a LranslLlon from a preconsclous Lo a consclous sLaLeand lL ls only when Lhls
happens LhaL you consclously reallse whaL ls golng on.

8uL how could an acL LhaL ls execuLed ptecooscloosly be voluntary? Voluntary
acLlons lmply Lhe posslblllLy of cholce, albelL cholce based on avallable exLernal and
lnLernal lnformaLlon, currenL needs and goals. volunLary acLlons are also poLenLlally
flexlble and capable of belng novel. ln Lhe psychologlcal llLeraLure Lhese properLles
are LradlLlonally assoclaLed wlLh conLrolled raLher Lhan auLomaLlc processlng or wlLh
focal-aLLenLlve raLher Lhan pre-aLLenLlve or non-aLLended processlng.
auLomaLlc or pre-aLLenLlve processlng, boLh conLrolled processlng (ln Lhe execuLlon
of acLs) and focal-aLLenLlve processlng (ln Lhe analysls of lnpuL) are LhoughL Lo be
conscious. None of the above argues against such traditional wisdom. In Libets
experlmenLs Lhe consclous experlence appears around 330 mllllseconds afLer Lhe
onseL of preconsclous processes LhaL are lndexed by Lhe readlness poLenLlal. 1hls
says someLhlng abouL Lhe Llmlng of Lhe consclous experlence ln relaLlon Lo Lhe
processes LhaL generaLe lL and abouL lLs resLrlcLed role once lL appears. Powever, lL
does noL argue agalnsL Lhe volunLary naLure of LhaL preconsclous processlng. Cn Lhe
conLrary, Lhe facL LhaL Lhe acL consclously feels as lf lL ls volunLary and conLrolled
suggesLs LhaL Lhe processes whlch have generaLed LhaL experlence ote volunLary and
conLrolled, as consclous experlences generally provlde reasonably accuraLe
represenLaLlons of whaL ls golng on (see above). 1hls applles equally Lo Lhe volunLary
naLure of more complex, menLal processlng such as Lhe self-regulaLlng, self-
modlfylng operaLlons of our own psychophyslcal mlnds evldenced by Lhe effecLs of
consclous lmagery, medlLaLlon and blofeedback. ln shorL, l suggesL LhaL Lhe feellng
LhaL we are free Lo choose or Lo exerclse conLrol ls compaLlble wlLh Lhe naLure of
whaL ls acLually Laklng place ln our own cenLral nervous sysLem, followlng processes
LhaL selecL amongsL avallable opLlons, ln accordance wlLh currenL needs, goals,
avallable sLraLegles, calculaLlons of llkely consequences and so on. Whlle l assume
LhaL such processes operaLe accordlng Lo deLermlnaLe physlcal prlnclples, Lhe sysLem
archlLecLure LhaL embodles Lhem enables Lhe ablllLy Lo exerclse Lhe cholce, flexlblllLy
and conLrol LhaL we experlencea form of blologlcal deLermlnlsm LhaL ls compaLlble
wlLh experlenced free wlll.

So wbos in control? Who chooses, has thoughts, generates images and so on? We
hablLually Lhlnk of ourselves as belng our cooscloos selves. 8uL lL should be clear
from Lhe above LhaL Lhe dlfferenL faceLs of our experlenced, consclous selves are
generaLed by and represenL aspecLs of our own preconsclous mlnds. 1haL ls, we are
botb Lhe pre-consclous generaLlng processes ooJ Lhe consclous resulLs. vlewed from
a Lhlrd-person perspecLlve our own preconsclous menLal processes look llke
neurochemlcal and assoclaLed physlcal acLlvlLles ln our bralns. vlewed

l do noL have space Lo develop Lhls Lheme ln more deLall here. ln velmans (2000) chapLers 10, 11
and 12 I develop a broader reflexive monist philosophy in which the function of consciousness is Lo
real-ise the world. That is, once an entity, event or process enters consciousness it becomes
sobjectlvely teol.
Such funcLlonal dlfferences are beyond Lhe scope of Lhls paper. Powever Lhey have been
exLenslvely lnvesLlgaLed, e.g. ln sLudles of selecLlve aLLenLlon, conLrolled versus auLomaLlc processlng,
and so on (see e.g. velmans, 1991, klhlsLrom, 1996).
lnLrospecLlvely, from a flrsL-person perspecLlve, our preconsclous mlnd seems llke a
personal, but empty space from which thoughts, images, and feelings
sponLaneously arlse. we are as much one Lhlng as Lhe oLherand Lhls requlres a
shift in our sensed centre of gravity to one where our consciously experienced self
becomes just the visible tip of our own embedding, preconscious mind.


lL has long been suspecLed LhaL Lhere ls a coosol telotloo beLween mlnd or
consclousness and braln. lor example, PlppocraLes of Cos (460-337 8.C.) wroLe LhaL,

Man ought to know that from the brain and from the braln only, arlse our
pleasures, [oys, laughLer and [esLs, as well as our sorrows, palns, grlefs and fears.
1hrough lL, ln parLlcular, we Lhlnk, see, hear, and dlsLlngulsh Lhe ugly from Lhe
beauLlful, Lhe bad from Lhe good, Lhe pleasanL from Lhe unpleasanL, ln some
cases uslng cusLom as a LesL, ln oLhers percelvlng Lhem from Lhelr uLlllLy. lL ls Lhe
same Lhlng whlch makes us mad or dellrlous, lnsplres us wlLh dread and fear,
wheLher by nlghL or by day, brlngs sleeplessness, lnopporLune mlsLakes, almless
anxleLles, absenL-mindedness, and acts that are contrary to habit (from Jones,
1923, clLed ln llew, 1978, p32).

Powever, Lhe clalm LhaL mlnd or consclousness ls ootbloq mote tboo a sLaLe of Lhe
braln ls far more radlcal. lf Lhls clalm can be [usLlfled, Lhen Lhe fundamenLal puzzles
surroundlng Lhe mlnd-body relaLlonshlp, and (ln lLs modern form) Lhe consclousness-
braln relaLlonshlp would be solved. Clearly, lf consclousness ls noLhlng more LhaL a
sLaLe of Lhe braln (a C-sLaLe say), lL should be posslble Lo undersLand lL wlLhln Lhe
exlsLlng framework of naLural sclence. Causal relaLlons beLween consclousness and
braln would LranslaLe lnLo Lhe causal relaLlons beLween C-sLaLes and oLher braln sLaLes
- and Lhe funcLlons of consclousness would slmply be Lhe funcLlons of C-sLaLes wlLhln
Lhe global economy of Lhe braln. 1he meLhods for lnvesLlgaLlng consclousness would
Lhen be Lhlrd-person meLhods of Lhe klnd already well developed ln neurophyslology
and cognlLlve sclence. WlLh such a poLenLlal prlze ln vlew, phllosophlcal and sclenLlflc
Lheorles of consclousness over Lhe lasL 30 years have ln Lhe maln assumed, or Lrled Lo
show LhaL some form of maLerlallsL reducLlonlsm ls Lrue.

now cou|d consc|ous exper|ences be bra|n states?

Clven Lhe apparenL dlfferences between the qualia of conscious experiences and
braln sLaLes lL ls by no means obvloos LhaL Lhey are one and Lhe same! hyslcallsLs such
as ullln lace (1936), and !.!.C. SmarL (1962) accepLed LhaL Lhese apparenL dlfferences
exlsL. 1hey also accepLed LhaL descrlpLlons of menLal sLaLes and descrlpLlons of Lhelr
correspondlng braln sLaLes are noL ldenLlcal ln meanlng. Powever, Lhey clalmed LhaL
wlLh Lhe advance of neurophyslology Lhese descrlpLlons wlll be JlscoveteJ Lo be
sLaLemenLs abouL one and Lhe same Lhlng. 1haL ls, a conLlngenL raLher Lhan a loglcal
ldenLlLy wlll be esLabllshed beLween consclousness, mlnd and braln.

SmarL (1962) summarlses Lhls poslLlon ln Lhe followlng way:

Let us first try to state more accurately the thesis that sensations are
braln-processes. It is not the thesis that, for example, after-image or ache
means the same as brain-process of sort X (where X is replaced by a
description of a certain brain process). It is that, in so far as after-image or
ache is a reporL of a process, lL ls a reporL of a process LhaL happens Lo be a
braln process. lL follows LhaL Lhe Lhesls does noL clalm LhaL sensaLlon sLaLemenLs
can be LranslaLed lnLo sLaLemenLs abouL braln processes. nor does lL clalm LhaL
Lhe loglc of a sensaLlon sLaLemenL ls Lhe same as LhaL of a braln process
sLaLemenL. All lL clalms ls LhaL ln so far as a sensaLlon sLaLemenL ls a reporL of
someLhlng, LhaL someLhlng ls a braln process. 5eosotloos ote ootbloq ovet ooJ
obove btolo ptocesses. (p163 - my lLallcs)

ln shorL Lhere ls a dlsLlncLlon Lo be drawn beLween how Lhlngs seem, how we descrlbe
Lhem, and how Lhey really are.

lL ls lmporLanL Lo remember LhaL no dlscovery LhaL reduces consclousness Lo braln has
yeL been made. hyslcallsm, Lherefore, ls parLly an expresslon of falLh, based on
precedenLs ln oLher areas of sclence - and argumenLs ln defence of Lhls poslLlon have
focused on Lhe kloJs of Jlscovety tbot woolJ oeeJ to be moJe for reducLlonlsm Lo be

C.u. 8road noLed ln 1923 LhaL maLerlallsm comes ln Lhree baslc verslons: toJlcol,
teJoctlve and emetqeot. Radical materialism claims that the term consciousness
does noL refer Lo anyLhlng real (ln conLemporary phllosophy Lhls poslLlon ls usually
called eliminativism). Reductive materialism accepLs LhaL consclousness does refer Lo
someLhlng real, buL sclence wlll dlscover LhaL real Lhlng Lo be noLhlng more Lhan a sLaLe
(or funcLlon) of Lhe braln. LmergenLlsm also accepLs Lhe reallLy of consclousness buL
clalms lL Lo be a hlgher-order properLy of bralns, lL supervenes on neural acLlvlLy, buL
cannoL be reduced Lo lL.

Whlle lL ls noL Lhe purpose of Lhls Appendlx Lo glve a full appralsal of Lhese poslLlons (l
do Lhls elsewhere, ln velmans, 2000, chapLers 3, 4 and 3) lL may be useful Lo lndlcaLe
why l do noL adopL Lhem. So, by way of lllusLraLlon, l llsL some of problems LhaL
physlcallsm musL solve, some of Lhe more plauslble physlcallsL soluLlons Lo Lhese, and a
few of Lhe problems wlLh Lhe soluLlons below.

What non-e||m|nat|ve reduct|on|sm needs to show

LeL us assume LhaL, ln some sense, our consclous experlences are real. 1o each and
every one of us, our consclous experlences are observable pbeoomeoo (psychologlcal
Joto) whlch we can descrlbe wlLh varylng degrees of accuracy ln ordlnary language.
Otbet people's experlences mlghL be hypoLheLlcal consLrucLs, as we cannoL observe
Lhelr experlences ln Lhe dlrecL way LhaL we can observe our own, buL LhaL does noL
make our own experlences slmllarly hypoLheLlcal. nor are our own consclous
experlences theories or folk psychologies. We may have everyday theories oboot
whaL we experlence, and wlLh deeper lnslghL, we mlghL be able Lo lmprove Lhem, buL
Lhls would noL replace, or necessarlly lmprove Lhe experlences Lhemselves.

ln essence Lhen, Lhe clalm LhaL consclous experlences are noLhlng more Lhan braln
sLaLes ls a clalm abouL one seL of phenomena (flrsL-person experlences of love, haLe,
Lhe smell of mown grass, Lhe colour of a sunseL, eLc.) belng noLhlng more Lhan anoLher
seL of phenomena (braln sLaLes, vlewed from Lhe perspecLlve of an exLernal observer).
Clven Lhe exLenslve, apparenL dlfferences beLween consclous experlences and braln
sLaLes Lhls ls a Lall order. lormally, one musL esLabllsh LhaL desplLe appearances,
consclous experlences are ootoloqlcolly lJeotlcol Lo braln sLaLes.

lnsLances where phenomena vlewed from one perspecLlve Lurned ouL Lo be one and
Lhe same as seemlngly dlfferenL phenomena vlewed from anoLher perspecLlve do occur
ln Lhe hlsLory of sclence. A classlcal example ls the way the morning star and the
evening star turned out to be identical (they were both found to be the planet
venus). 8uL vlewlng consclousness from a flrsL- versus a Lhlrd-person perspecLlve ls very
dlfferenL Lo seelng Lhe same planeL ln Lhe mornlng or Lhe evenlng. lrom a Lhlrd-person
(exLernal observer's) perspecLlve one has oo Jltect occess Lo a sub[ecL's consclous
experlence. ConsequenLly, one has no Lhlrd-person daLa (abouL Lhe experlence lLself)
whlch can be compared Lo or conLrasLed wlLh Lhe sub[ecL's flrsL-person daLa.
neurophyslologlcal lnvesLlgaLlons are llmlLed, ln prlnclple, Lo lsolaLlng Lhe neural
correlaLes or anLecedenL causes of glven experlences. 1hls would be a ma[or sclenLlflc
advance. 8uL whaL would lL Lell us abouL Lhe naLure of consclousness lLself?

Common reduct|on|st arguments and fa||ac|es

8educLlonlsLs commonly argue LhaL lf one can flnd Lhe neural cooses or cottelotes of
consclousness ln Lhe braln, Lhen Lhls would esLabllsh consclousness ltself Lo be a braln
sLaLe (see for example, Place 1956; Crick 1994). Let us call these the causation
argument and the correlation argument. I suggest that such arguments are based
on a falrly obvlous fallacy. lor consclousness Lo be noLhlng more Lhan a braln sLaLe, lL
musL be ootoloqlcolly lJeotlcol Lo a braln sLaLe. Powever, cottelotloo and coosotloo do
noL esLabllsh ootoloqlcol lJeotlty. 1hese relaLlonshlps have been perslsLenLly
confounded ln Lhe llLeraLure. So leL me make Lhe dlfferences clear.

CnLologlcal ldenLlLy ls symmettlcol, LhaL ls, lf A ls ldenLlcal Lo 8, Lhen 8 ls ldenLlcal Lo A.
CnLologlcal ldenLlLy also obeys lelbolz's low: lf A ls ldenLlcal Lo 8, all Lhe properLles of A
are also properLles of 8, and vlce-versa (for example all the properties of the morning
star are also properties of the evening star).

CorrelaLlon ls also symmettlcol, lf A correlaLes wlLh 8, Lhen 8 correlaLes wlLh A. 8uL
correlaLlon does oot obey lelbolz's low, lf A correlaLes wlLh 8, lL does noL follow LhaL all
Lhe properLles of A and 8 are Lhe same. lor example, helghL ln humans correlaLes wlLh
welghL, buL helghL and welghL do noL have Lhe same seL of properLles.

CausaLlon, by conLrasL, ls osymmettlcol, lf A causes 8, lL does noL follow LhaL 8 causes A.
lf a rock Lhrown ln a pond causes rlpples ln Lhe waLer, lL does noL follow LhaL rlpples ln
Lhe waLer cause Lhe rock Lo be Lhrown ln Lhe pond. And causaLlon does oot obey
lelbolz's low (flylng rocks and pond rlpples have very dlfferenL properLles).

Cnce Lhe obvlous dlfferences beLween causaLlon, correlaLlon and onLologlcal ldenLlLy
are laid bare the weaknesses of the causation argument and the correlation
argument are clear. Under appropriate conditions, brain states may be shown to
cause, or correlaLe wlLh consclous experlences, buL lL does noL follow LhaL consclous
experlences are noLhlng more Lhan sLaLes (or, for LhaL maLLer, funcLlons) of Lhe braln.
1o demonsLraLe LhaL, one would have Lo esLabllsh an onLologlcal ldenLlLy ln whlch all
Lhe properLles of a consclous experlence and correspondlng braln sLaLe are ldenLlcal.
unforLunaLely for reducLlonlsm, few lf any properLles of experlences (accuraLely
descrlbed) and braln sLaLes appear Lo be ldenLlcal.

ln shorL, Lhe causes and correlaLes of consclous experlence should noL be confused
wlLh Lhelr ootoloqy. As lL happens, varlous oooteJoctloolst poslLlons such as duallsL-
lnLeracLlonlsm, eplphenomenallsm and modern dual-aspecL Lheory oqtee LhaL
consclousness (ln humans) ls causally lnfluenced by and correlaLes wlLh neural evenLs,
buL Lhey Jeoy LhaL consclousness ls noLhlng more Lhan a sLaLe of Lhe braln. As no
lnformaLlon abouL consclousness otbet tboo lts oeotol cooses ooJ cottelotes ls avallable
Lo neurophyslologlcal lnvesLlgaLlon of Lhe braln, lL ls dlfflculL Lo see how such research
could ever seLLle Lhe lssue. 1he ooly evldence abouL whaL consclous experlences are
llke comes from flrsL-person sources, whlch conslsLenLly suggesL consclousness Lo be
someLhlng oLher Lhan or addlLlonal Lo neuronal acLlvlLy. Clven Lhls, l conclude LhaL
reducLlonlsm vla Lhls rouLe coooot be moJe to wotk (cf velmans, 1998).

Ia|se ana|og|es

laced wlLh Lhls dlfflculLy, reducLlonlsLs usually Lurn Lo analogles from oLher areas ln
sclence, where a reducLlve, causal accounL of a phenomenon led Lo an undersLandlng
of lLs onLology, very dlfferenL Lo lLs phenomenology. lrancls Crlck (1994), for example,
makes Lhe polnL LhaL ln sclence, reducLlonlsm ls boLh common and successful. Cenes
for example Lurned ouL Lo be noLhlng buL unA molecules. So, ln sclence, Lhls ls Lhe besL
way Lo proceed. Whlle he recognlses LhaL experlenced (flrsL-person) qualia pose a
problem for reducLlonlsm, he suggesLs LhaL ln Lhe fullness of Llme lL may be posslble Lo
descrlbe Lhe oeotol cottelotes of such qualla. And, lf we can undersLand Lhe naLure of
Lhe correlaLes we may come Lo undersLand Lhe correspondlng forms of consclousness.
By these means science will show that You're nothing but a pack of neurones!

lL should be apparenL from Lhe above LhaL flndlng Lhe neural correlaLes of
consclousness won'L be enough Lo reduce people Lo neurones! 1he reducLlon of
consclousness Lo braln ls also qulLe unllke Lhe reducLlon of genes Lo unA. ln Lhe
development of genetics, genes were initially hypothetical entities inferred to exist to
accounL for observed regularlLles ln Lhe Lransmlsslon of characLerlsLlcs from parenLs Lo
offsprlng. 1he dlscovery LhaL genes are unA molecules shows how a LheoreLlcal enLlLy
is sometimes discovered to be real. A similar discovery was made for bacteria, whlch
were lnferred causes of dlsease unLll Lhe developmenL of Lhe mlcroscope, afLer whlch
Lhey could be seen. vlruses remalned hypoLheLlcal unLll Lhe developmenL of Lhe
elecLron mlcroscope, afLer whlch Lhey Loo could be seen. 1hese are genulne cases of
maLerlallsL reducLlon (of hypoLheLlcal Lo physlcal enLlLles).

But it would be absurd to regard conscious experiences as hypothetical entities,
walLlng for Lhelr neural subsLraLes Lo be dlscovered Lo make Lhem real. Consclous
experlences are flrsL-person pbeoomeoo. 1o Lhose who have Lhem, Lhey provlde Lhe
very fabrlc of sub[ecLlve reallLy. Cne does noL have Lo walL for Lhe advance of
neurosclence Lo know LhaL one has been sLung by a bee! lf consclous experlences wete
merely hypoLheLlcal, Lhe mlnd-body problems, and ln parLlcular Lhe problems posed by
the phenomenal properties of qualia would not exist.

ullln lace (1936) focuses on causaLlon raLher Lhan correlaLlon. As he noLes, we now
undersLand llghLnlng Lo be noLhlng more Lhan Lhe moLlon of elecLrlcal charges Lhrough
Lhe aLmosphere. 8uL mere correlaLlons of llghLnlng wlLh elecLrlcal dlscharges do noL
sufflce Lo [usLlfy Lhls reducLlon. 8aLher, he argues, Lhe reducLlon ls [usLlfled once we
know LhaL Lhe moLlon of elecLrlcal charges Lhrough Lhe aLmosphere cooses whaL we
experlence as llghLnlng. Slmllarly, a consclous experlence may be sald Lo be a glven
sLaLe of Lhe braln once we know LhaL braln sLaLe Lo have cooseJ Lhe consclous

I have dealt with the fallacy of the causation argument above. But the lightning
analogy ls seducLlve because lL ls half-Lrue. 1haL ls, fot tbe potposes of pbyslcs lL ls Lrue
LhaL llghLnlng can be descrlbed as noLhlng more Lhan Lhe moLlon of elecLrlcal charges.
8uL Lhere are Lhree Lhlngs LhaL need Lo be accounLed for ln Lhls slLuaLlon, noL [usL one -
an evenL ln Lhe world, a percelver, and a resulLlng experlence. hyslcs ls lnLeresLed ln
Lhe naLure of Lhe evenL ln Lhe world. Powever, psychology ls lnLeresLed ln how Lhls
physlcal evenL lnLeracLs wlLh a vlsual sysLem Lo produce expetleoceJ llqbtoloq - ln Lhe
form of a percelved flash of llghL ln a phenomenal world. 1hls experlenced llghLnlng
may be sald Lo tepteseot Lhe same evenL ln Lhe world whlch physlcs descrlbes as a
moLlon of elecLrlcal charges. 8uL Lhe pbeoomeooloqy of tbe expetleoce ltself cannoL be
sald Lo be noLhlng more Lhan Lhe moLlon of elecLrlcal charges! rlor Lo Lhe emergence
of llfe forms wlLh vlsual sysLems on Lhls planeL, Lhere presumably was no such
phenomenology, alLhough Lhe elecLrlcal charges whlch now glve rlse Lo Lhls experlence
dld exlsL.

ln sum, Lhe facL LhaL moLlons of elecLrlcal charges cause Lhe experlence of llghLnlng
does noL warranL Lhe concluslon LhaL Lhe pbeoomeooloqy of Lhe experlence ls noLhlng
more Lhan Lhe moLlon of elecLrlcal charges. nor would flndlng Lhe neurophyslologlcal
causes of consclous experlences warranL Lhe reducLlon of Lhe phenomenology of Lhose
experlences Lo sLaLes of Lhe braln.

Clven LhaL examples of flrsL-person reducLlon Lo Lhlrd-person sclence (unA, llghLnlng,
colour, heaL, eLc.) are noL really examples of flrsL-person reducLlon aL all, perhaps a
nonreducLlve maLerlallsm ls more approprlaLe. lor example, accordlng Lo Searle (1987,
1992, 1994a, 1997) consclous sLaLes cannoL be redescrlbed (now or ever) ln
neurophyslologlcal language. 8aLher, Lhey have Lo be descrlbed [usL as Lhey seem Lo
be. Searle, for example, belleves sobjectlvlty and loteotlooollty Lo be essenLlal feaLures
of consciousness. Conscious states have intrinsic intentionality, thaL ls, lL ls lnLrlnslc Lo
Lhem LhaL Lhey are oboot someLhlng. Accordlng Lo Searle, Lhls dlsLlngulshes consclous
sLaLes from physlcal represenLaLlons such as senLences wrlLLen on a page. Consclous
readers mlghL lnLerpreL Lhese os lf Lhey are abouL someLhlng (such physlcal
representations have as-if intentionality), but they are just marks on a piece of paper
and not about anything in themselves. Subjectivity, too, is unlike anything else in
blology, and ln a sense lL ls one of Lhe mosL amazlng feaLures of nature. (Searle, 1994a,
p97). neverLheless, he malnLalns LhaL consclous sLaLes are [usL hlgher-order feaLures of
Lhe braln.


ln classlcal duallsm, consclousness ls LhoughL Lo be a nonmaLerlal subsLance or enLlLy
dlfferenL ln klnd from Lhe maLerlal world, wlLh an exlsLence LhaL ls lndependenL of Lhe
exlsLence of Lhe braln (alLhough ln normal llfe lL lnLeracLs wlLh Lhe braln).
Emergentism in the form of property dualism retains the view that there are
fundamenLal dlfferences beLween consclousness and physlcal maLLer, buL vlews Lhese
as dlfferenL klnds of properLy of Lhe braln. 1haL ls, consclousness ls noL teJoclble buL lLs
exlsLence ls sLlll JepeoJeot on Lhe worklngs of Lhe bralnand accordlng Lo Searle, such
a non-reduclble braln property is still physical.

Searle (1987), for example, argues LhaL coosollty should noL be confused wlLh
ootoloqlcol lJeotlty (as l do ln my crlLlque of reducLlonlsm above), and hls case for
physlcallsm appears Lo be one of Lhe few Lo have addressed Lhls dlsLlncLlon head-on.
1he gap beLween whaL cooses consclousness and whaL consclous ls can be brldged, he
suggesLs, by an undersLandlng of how mlcroproperLles relaLe Lo macroproperLles.
LlquldlLy of waLer ls caused by Lhe way P
C molecules sllde over each oLher, buL ls
noLhlng more Lhan (an emergenL properLy of) Lhe comblned effecL of Lhese molecular
movemenLs. Llkewlse, solldlLy ls caused by Lhe way molecules ln crysLal laLLlces blnd Lo
each oLher, buL ls noLhlng more Lhan Lhe hlgher order (emergenL) effecL of such
blndlngs. ln slmllar fashlon, consclousness ls caused by neuronal acLlvlLy ln Lhe braln
and ls noLhlng more Lhan Lhe hlgher order, emergenL effecL of such acLlvlLy. 1haL ls,
consclousness ls [usL a pbyslcol moctoptopetty of Lhe braln.

Searle's argumenL ls aLLracLlve, buL lL needs Lo be examlned wlLh care. 1he braln
undoubLedly has physlcal macroproperLles of many klnds. Llke oLher physlcal sysLems,
lLs physlcal mlcrosLrucLure supporLs a physlcal macrosLrucLure. Powever, Lhe physlcal
macroproperty of brains that is most closely analogous to solidity and liquidity is
sponginess, not consciousness! There are, of course, more psychologically relevant
macroproperLles, for example, Lhe blood flow paLLerns plcked up by L1 scans or Lhe
magneLlc and elecLrlcal acLlvlLles deLecLed by fM8l and LLC. 8uL why should lncreased
blood flow constitute subjectivity, or why would it be like anything to be an electrical
poLenLlal or magneLlc fleld? Whlle some of Lhese properLles undoubLedly cottelote
wlLh consclous experlences, Lhere ls llLLle reason Lo suppose LhaL Lhey are ootoloqlcolly
lJeotlcol Lo consclous experlences.

Cne mlghL also quesLlon how Searle's properLy duallsm could really be a form of
pbyslcollsm. Searle lnslsLs LhaL consclousness ls a pbyslcol phenomenon, produced by
Lhe braln ln Lhe sense LhaL Lhe gall bladder produces blle. 8uL he also sLresses LhaL
sobjectlvlty and loteotlooollty are deflnlng characLerlsLlcs of consclousness. unllke
physlcal phenomena, Lhe phenomenology of consclousness cannoL be observed from
Lhe ouLslde, unllke physlcal phenomena, lL ls always of or oboot someLhlng. So, even
one accepLs LhaL consclousness ls, ln some sense, caused by or emergenL from Lhe
brain, why call it physical as opposed to mental or psychological? Merely
telobellloq consclousness or movlng from mlcro- Lo macroproperLles doesn'L really
close the gap between objective brains and subjective experiences!

l should sLress LhaL l do noL deny that conscious experiences can be said to emerge from the
human braln ln Lhe sense LhaL glven braln sLaLes can be sald Lo coose glven consclous experlences.
1haL ls, l do noL deny Lhe leglLlmacy of physlcalmenLal causal accounLs, anymore Lhan l deny Lhe
leglLlmacy of physlcalphyslcal, menLalphyslcal and menLalmenLal accounLs. 1he quesLlon ls: how
do we make sense of Lhese accounLs? 1he physlcallsL answer (ln whaLever gulse lL Lakes) ls Lo LranslaLe all
Lhese causal accounLs lnLo physlcalphyslcal accounLsln Lhls case, by Lrylng Lo show LhaL consclous
sLaLes are noLhlng more Lhan hlgher-order, emergenL pbyslcol sLaLes of Lhe braln. As far as l can Lell, Lhls
manoeuvre cannoL really be made Lo work. 1haL ls, flrsL-person consclousness cannoL be LhoughL of as
a physical property of the brain in any conventional, third-person sense of the term physical.
noLe LhaL Lhe problems of lJeotlfyloq flrsL-person consclousness wlLh Lhlrd-person feaLures perslsL even
when we select plausible, emergent brain properties that are less obviously physical, but nevertheless
descrlbable ln Lhlrd-person, funcLlonal Lerms. lor example, uewar (1976) (elaboraLlng on Lhe emergenL-
lnLeracLlonlsm of 8oger Sperry, 1969) clLes Lhe phenomenon of "muLual enLralnmenL." 1he Lerm
"enLralnmenL" refers Lo Lhe synchronlsaLlon of an osclllaLor Lo an lnpuL slgnal. 1hls occurs, for example,
when Lelevlslon recelver osclllaLors conLrolllng Lhe verLlcal and horlzonLal llnes "lock lnLo" LransmlLLlng
frequencles Lo produce a glven plcLure on Lhe screen. Lxamples of enLralnmenL, uewar noLes, may also
be found aL many levels of blologlcal organlsaLlona parLlcularly apposlLe case belng Lhe way "blologlcal
clocks" governlng clrcadlan rhyLhms can be locked lnLo varylng perlods (of around 24 hours) Lo produce
alLered cycles of day-nlghL acLlvlLy ln anlmals. "MuLual enLralnmenL" occurs when Lwo or more osclllaLors
lnLeracL ln such a way LhaL Lhey pull one anoLher lnLo synchrony. 1hls occurs, for example, when dlfferenL
alLernaLlng-currenL generaLors feedlng Lhe naLlonal grld are pulled lnLo synchrony by whaL norberL
Wlener refers Lo as a "vlrLual governor" ln Lhe sysLem. AlLhough Lhe generaLors may be far dlsLanL from
each oLher and may sLarL up and sLop aL ldlosyncraLlc Llmes, once "on-llne" Lhey are made Lo speed up or
slow down Lo produce A.C. currenL ln phase wlLh LhaL of all Lhe oLher machlnes feedlng Lhe grld. As
uewar polnLs ouL Lhe "vlrLual governor" ls noL locaLed ln any one place ln Lhe sysLem, buL raLher pervades
Lhe sysLem as a whole so LhaL lL does noL have a "physlcal exlsLence" ln Lhe usual sense. lL ls an emergenL
properLy of Lhe enLlre sysLem. ln slmllar fashlon, uewar suggesLs, consclousness ls "a hollsLlc emergenL
properLy of Lhe lnLeracLlon of neurones whlch has Lhe power Lo be self-reflecLlve and ascerLaln lLs own
1hls analogy becomes parLlcularly lnLeresLlng ln Lhe llghL of Lhe suggesLlon LhaL synchronous
or correlaLed flrlng of dlverse neurone groups (aL rhyLhmlc frequencles ln Lhe 40 Pz reglon) mlghL
produce the neural binding required to produce an integrated experience from features of objects
LhaL are encoded ln spaLlally separaLed reglons of Lhe braln. Clven Lhe well-lnLegraLed naLure of
normal consclous experlences, lL seems reasonable Lo propose LhaL blndlng processes operaLe prlor Lo
Lhe formaLlon of, or co-occur wlLh such experlences. Powever, Lhere ls llLLle reason Lo suggesL LhaL
binding or mutual entrainment is ootoloqlcolly lJeotlcol Lo consclousnessunless we are wllllng Lo
accept that the national grid is conscious. And how mutual entrainment or binding has the power to
be self-reflective and ascertain its own awareness remains a mysLery! (A more deLalled analysls of
how consclousness relaLes Lo muLual enLralnmenL and blndlng ls glven ln velmans, 2000, pp41-42).
ln sum, demonsLraLlng Lhe braln Lo have physlcal macroproperLles LhaL are
supervenlenL on lLs physlcal mlcroproperLles ls one Lhlng, lJeotlfyloq Lhose physlcal
macroproperLles wlLh Lhe properLles of cooscloosoess ls anoLher! Searle, as shown
above, Lrles Lo seLLle Lhe lssue by flot. Sub[ecLlve, lnLenLlonal consclous experlences are
slmply JecloteJ Lo be physlcal sLaLes. 8uL Lhls doesn'L really help much. 1he onLology
of these new physical states is not really clarified by renaming them. Nor does the
LranslLlon from smaller Lhlngs Lo larger Lhlngs (from mlcroproperLles Lo
macroproperLles) really explolo how maLerlal bralns, vlewed from a Lhlrd-person
perspecLlve could Lhemselves have a consclous, flrsL-person perspecLlve! And Lhe
problem of bow such extraordinary subjective, intentional states could lotetoct
wlLh ordlnary physlcal sLaLes remalns.


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