Defining consciousness: The importance of non-reflective self-awareneess

Shaun Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


I review the problem of how to define consciousness. I suggest that rather than continuing that debate, we should turn to phenomenological description of experience to discover the common aspects of consciousness. In this way we can say that consciousness is characterized by intentionality, phenomenality, and non-reflective self-awareness. I explore this last characteristic in detail and I argue against higher-order representational theories of consciousness, with reference to blindsight and motor control processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-69
Number of pages8
JournalPragmatics and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • consciousness
  • pre-reflective awareness
  • intentionality
  • phenomenality


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