Neurodynamics of mind: The arrow illusion of conscious intentionality as downward causation

Joaquín Barutta, Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht, Carlos Cornejo, Agustín Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In cognitive neuroscience, the reissue of the notion of emergence and downward causation has been used as an interlevel model of mind-brain interactions from different perspectives. Within this perspective, intentionality has been interpreted as global to local determination (downward causation) on the neurophysiological level. Consciousness would act as the large-scale, global activity of the system that governs or constrains local interactions of neurons. This argument seems to solve several difficulties with regard to descriptions of consciousness on a neurophysiological and mental level. Nevertheless, the inconsistencies of this argument are shown, and a contextual and pragmatic explanation of the downward causation of consciousness is given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-143
Number of pages17
JournalIntegrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Consciousness
  • Downward causation
  • Emergence
  • Explanatory pluralism
  • Large-scale brain dynamics
  • Reductionism


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