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Alvin I. Goldman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195138791.001.0001

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Can Science Know When You're Conscious?

Can Science Know When You're Conscious?

Epistemological Foundations of Consciousness Research

Chapter:
(p.114) 6 Can Science Know When You're Conscious?
Source:
Pathways to Knowledge
Author(s):

Alvin I. Goldman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195138791.003.0006

Consciousness researchers commonly rely on their subjects’ verbal reports to determine their conscious states. Is this defensible in the conduct of science? Attempts might be made to rationalize the reliance on verbal reports by appealing to higher‐order thought or functionalist approaches to consciousness, but these are rejected. A third approach is defended, based on subjects’ introspective capacities. Admittedly, the reliability of introspection cannot be independently validated, but an independent validation requirement is too restrictive for an epistemologically “basic” method.

Keywords:   consciousness, epistemology, functionalism, higher‐order thought, introspection, verbal report

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