Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
O'Brien & Opie: Connectionism and phenomenal experience

The gap into dissolution: The real story

Martin Kurthen a1
a1 Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn, D-53105 Bonn, Germany [email protected]


For a theory of phenomenal consciousness, the real issue is not that between vehicle and process, but between naturalistic and deconstructive theories. Most current naturalistic theories combine a hypothesis about the neural correlate of consciousness with a subsequent naturalistic proposal about how to close the explanatory gap. Deconstructive theories use theses about the neural correlate of consciousness only to motivate and support their claim that the “hard problem” of consciousness is a pseudo-problem which is not to be solved, but rather dissolved on non-naturalistic grounds. O'Brien & Opie present a hypothesis concerning the neural correlate of consciousness, but no genuine strategy to close the explanatory gap. Their theory can, however, contribute to the success of a deconstructive theory of PC.