The extra ingredient

Richard Brown, Joseph LeDoux, David Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Birch et al. see their model as incompatible with higher-order-thought (HOT) theories of consciousness, on which a state is conscious if one is in some suitable way aware of that state. They see higher-order (HO) awareness as an “extra ingredient”. But since Birch et al. go on to say that “[t]his is not the place for a detailed discussion of HOT theories,” they don’t address why they take HO awareness to be an extra ingredient or why HOT theorists are convinced that it’s needed. In this commentary we argue that higher-order theories are a crucial for understanding consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalBiology and Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Consciousness
  • Higher-order theories
  • Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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