This book explores the neural basis of consciousness and, more specifically, with the foundations of neural representations underlying consciousness. It adopts a neuroscientific angle on how neural systems generate representations and consciousness, but at the same time considers the “hard” problem of consciousness. In contrast to aspects that have proven accessible to experimental study, such as attention and memory, this hard aspect is considered to be the qualitative nature of conscious experience, and precisely because of this nature it has been vexingly difficult to come up with plausible neural explanations. In this chapter, we will first dig into definitional issues in studies of consciousness and representation, such as: what is consciousness, and how may the concept of “representation” be informative about it? How do we recognize a conscious state in ourselves or in other beings? Important distinctions between 'detection' and 'perception' are introduced as well as different uses of 'meaning'. Finally, a brief overview of this book's contents is given.
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