Functions of consciousness
Dr. Anil K Seth accepted the invitation on 18 October 2008 (self-imposed deadline: 31 March 2011).
Functions of consciousness. A major challenge for the successful naturalization of consciousness lies in locating its biological function, or functions. Although common sense suggests that conscious experience has many important functional roles in our lives, experiments and theoretical arguments challenge these everyday intuitions. Many human behaviors can occur in the absence of consciousness, and the natural world contains many creatures capable of engaging in complex behaviors, at least some of which may be doing so entirely without consciousness. This chapter will review theoretical arguments and experimental evidence relevant to putative functions of consciousness.