Is Phenomenal Consciousness a Complex Structure?

Abstract

Evolutionary explanations of psychological phenomena have become widespread. This paper examines a recent attempt by Nichols and Grantham (2000) to circumvent the problem of epiphenomenalism in establishing the selective status of consciousness. Nichols and Grantham (2000) argue that a case can be made for the view that consciousness is an adaptation based on its complexity. I set out this argument and argue that it fails to establish that phenomenal consciousness is a complex system. It is suggested that the goal of establishing consciousness as an adaptation may be better served by rejecting the distinction between access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness.

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Correspondence to Chuck Stieg.

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Stieg, C. Is Phenomenal Consciousness a Complex Structure?. Act Nerv Super 51, 152–161 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03379558

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Key words

  • Consciousness
  • Complexity
  • Adaptation