Hypothesis & Theory ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 10 July 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00714

The measurement of consciousness: a framework for the scientific study of consciousness

  • Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science / Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Scientists studying consciousness are attempting to identify correlations between measurements of consciousness and the physical world. Consciousness can only be measured through first-person reports, which raises problems about the accuracy of first-person reports, the possibility of non-reportable consciousness and the causal closure of the physical world. Many of these issues could be resolved by assuming that consciousness is entirely physical or functional. However, this would sacrifice the theory-neutrality that is a key attraction of a correlates-based approach to the study of consciousness. This paper puts forward a different solution that uses a framework of definitions and assumptions to explain how consciousness can be measured. This addresses the problems associated with first-person reports and avoids the issues with the causal closure of the physical world. This framework is compatible with most of the current theories of consciousness and it leads to a distinction between two types of correlates of consciousness.

Keywords: measurement, correlates, consciousness, causal closure, first-person report

Citation: Gamez D (2014) The measurement of consciousness: a framework for the scientific study of consciousness. Front. Psychol. 5:714. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00714

Received: 25 March 2014; Accepted: 20 June 2014;
Published online: 10 July 2014.

Edited by:

Ron Chrisley, University of Sussex, UK

Reviewed by:

Tom Froese, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Marcin Milkowski, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Poland

Copyright © 2014 Gamez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: David Gamez, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9RH, UK e-mail: david@davidgamez.eu

Back to top