Consciousness: Situated and Social
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The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, Cambridge University Press, The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK, (2007)

Conscious experience is usually presumed to depend in a direct way only on events in the brain. For instance, thought experiments in which events in the brain are held constant, but events outside the brain are changed, are assumed to leave the nature of the conscious experience also unchanged. Here I argue to the contrary that conscious experience depends in a direct way on a wider set of events, including events outside the brain and in the past. Nonetheless, not all events matter equally. For events outside the brain, social relations appear especially important. A complex social environment has shaped much of the architecture of the brain and can be partially internalized by the brain via simulation. This view suggests that understanding conscious experience requires understanding the phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and current social relations in which an individual brain is embedded.
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