Frederic PETERS

ABSTRACT: The equation of consciousness with qualia, of wakeful awareness with awareness-of-cognitive content (perceptions, conceptions, emotions), while intuitively attractive, and formally referenced as the primary index of consciousness by many philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists, nevertheless has significant difficulties specifying precisely what it is that distinguishes conscious from non-conscious cognition. Moreover, there is a surprisingly robust congruence of evidence to the contrary, supporting the notion that consciousness, as a state of reflexive awareness, is distinct from the content one is aware of, that this awareness/content amalgam is actually the product of an incorporation process of various intermittent, and constantly varying streams of content onto a pre-existing reflexively conscious state which is not reliant on these streams for its constitution as a reflexive state. Consciousness, the evidence strongly indicates, is not qualia, not the awareness of this or that perceptual, conceptual or emotional content, but reflexive, autonoetic awareness as such.

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