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Aristotelian Causation and Neural Correlates of Consciousness

  • Matthew OwenEmail author


Neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) are neural states or processes correlated with consciousness. The aim of this article is to present a coherent explanatory model of NCC that is informed by Thomas Aquinas’s human ontology and Aristotle’s metaphysics of causation. After explicating four starting principles regarding causation and mind–body dependence, I propose the Mind–Body Powers model of NCC.


Neural correlates of consciousness NCC Consciousness Aristotelianism Thomism Human ontology Causation Powers Mental powers 



I want to thank the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation for generously funding my work as the Elizabeth R. Koch Research Fellow for Tiny Blue Dot Consciousness Studies. I also want to thank my fellowship advisor, Christof Koch for constructive comments on an earlier version of this article and many helpful conversations. I am deeply grateful for Aryn Owen’s constructive feedback on my writing. Anna Marmodoro, Nikk Effingham, Jussi Suikkanen, Henry Taylor, Mihretu Guta, Daniel De Haan and an anonymous reviewer also provided very helpful feedback on previous versions of this article, for which I am grateful.


Research funded by the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author, Matthew Owen, declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gonzaga UniversitySpokaneUSA

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