This paper develops a view of consciousness in the context of a new philosophical approach that invokes the concept of emergence, through which the operative principles of each level of organization of physical energy flow are functionally dissociated from those of the levels below it, despite the continuity of the physical laws that govern them.
The particular form of emergence that is the focus of the present analysis is the emergence of conscious mental processing from neural activity carried by the underlying biochemical principles of brain organization. Within this framework, a process model of consciousness is developed to account for many of the experienced aspects of consciousness, many that are rarely considered in the philosophical discourse. Each of these aspects is rigorously specified in terms of its definable properties. It is then analyzed in terms of specific empirical tests that can be used to determine its neural substrate and relevant data that implement such tests.
The paper concludes with an analysis of the evolutionary function of consciousness, and a critique of the Integrated Information Theory approach to defining its properties. .
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