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Does unconscious perception really exist? Continuing the ASSC20 debate

Peters, Megan A.K.; Kentridge, Robert W.; Phillips, Ian; Block, Ned

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Megan A.K. Peters

Ian Phillips

Ned Block


In our ASSC20 symposium, “Does unconscious perception really exist?”, the four of us asked some difficult questions about the purported phenomenon of unconscious perception, disagreeing on a number of points. This disagreement reflected the objective of the symposium: not only to come together to discuss a single topic of keen interest to the ASSC community, but to do so in a way that would fairly and comprehensively represent the heterogeneity of ideas, opinions, and evidence that exists concerning this contentious topic. The crux of this controversy rests in no small part on disagreement about what is meant by the terms of the debate and how to determine empirically whether a state is unconscious or not. These are issues that directly concern all of us who study consciousness, so it seems it would be in our best interest to strive for consensus. Given the conversation at ASSC20, we are pleased to have the opportunity to address some of the nuanced topics that arose more formally, and share some of the thinking we have done since the meeting. To reflect the heterogeneity of ideas and opinions surrounding this topic, we have organized this discussion into four distinct contributions.


Peters, M. A., Kentridge, R. W., Phillips, I., & Block, N. (2017). Does unconscious perception really exist? Continuing the ASSC20 debate. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 3(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 6, 2017
Publication Date Sep 6, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2017
Journal Neuroscience of Consciousness
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 1


Published Journal Article (497 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.<br /> This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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