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August 1973

Consciousness and BrainI. The Identity Thesis

Author Affiliations

Irvine, Calif
From the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, California College of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(2):153-160. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200020005001

An understanding of the relationship of consciousness to brain is integral to the development of a general theory for psychiatry. It is argued that objections to Feigl's psychoneural identity thesis can be countered by considering consciousness as identical with "pure events" which, to an observer, are neurally embodied. Consciousness may be subdivided into phenomenal contents and the conscious context (consciousness per se) which are respectively identical with representation events that code input to the brain and processing events which do not code input but comprise intrinsic organizations. The "phenomenal I", the so-called "ghost in the machine," is held to be identical with processing events on the output side of the nervous system.