Talk: The Neural Correlate of Consciousness: What it is and why we want to know it.
Speaker: Prof. Sascha Fink
Topic: The Neural Correlate of Consciousness: What it is and why we want to know it.
Date: 2019.11.08 (Fri.) 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Location: 12F Conference room, Daan Campus, Taipei Medical University
Consciousness – how it feels to be in a mental state – is a fundamental feature of mind we want to understand. Consequently, the „neural correlate of consciousness“ (NCC) has become a core concept in the contemporary neuroscience of consciousness. What is an NCC and why do we want to know it? „NCC“ is commonly understood as „that neural mechanism or activation minimally sufficient for a state of consciousness“. However, this definition has terrible consequences for application in clinical contexts (e.g. anaesthetic monitoring) and hinders scientific progress in that field for principled reasons, as I argue. I then propose an alternative (based on Fink 2018). This definition lends itself to a specific interpretation of experiences that stresses the role of structures in comparison to functions, called „phenomenal structuralism“, which may lead to new forms of studies, predictions, and ways of testing NCC-hypotheses.