The correlation/constitution distinction problem

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The science of consciousness is founded on identifying the minimally sufficient neural correlates of consciousness. However, I have argued that science really seeks identification of the neural constitution of consciousness, and that there are no empirical strategies for distinguishing the correlates and constitution of consciousness. Here I review this correlation/constitution distinction problem, drawing on recording, inhibition, stimulation and combined inhibition/stimulation approaches. I propose the Jenga analogy to explain why the minimally sufficient neural correlates of consciousness should not be considered the ultimate target of consciousness science. I then show how combined inhibition/stimulation strategies might identify some constitutive neural activities but not the whole constitution of consciousness. Clarifications, objections and related issues are also discussed and I propose new foundational claims for consciousness science.


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