I am currently reading Jesse Prinz's "The Conscious Brain". I am only about 75 pages into it so haven't yet covered enough ground to fully understand what he's proposing, but his idea is termed the Attended Intermediate-level Representation theory. Prinz notes that evidence to date shows that most sensory processing is probably organised into a tripartite hierarchy - lower, intermediate and higher levels. He argues that consciousness is formed at the intermediate level - the lower level is primary brute processing while the higher level is concerned with abstraction and categorisation. The intermediate level is where the more nuanced marriage of both produces the experiential phenomenon we term consciousness via the process of attention. Prinz further seems to be saying that all experiential phenomona arise from sensory processing, including emotional experiences which he sees as the intermediate evaluation of internal bodily responses. Although I haven't gotten far into the book, I get the feeling that for all the strictly physical evidence he has assembled Prinz appears still to be arguing for the idea that a conscious experience somehow 'arises' from the neural processing of information. I may be wrong there as I haven't yet reached the exposition of his theory in detail. By contrast I recently read the book "Consciousness and the Social Brain" by Professor Michael Graziano. He too argues for attention as the mediating agent, but he has a rather different tack. He suggests that the brain constructs a model of the internal process of generating attention, a description if you will of what is being attended. This model is awareness and it can then be attached to the objects of attention - in a qualitative sense, the subjective experience is simply the constructed model of perceptual object and attentive processing. As Graziano describes it, consciousness is "a schematic model of one's state of attention". Graziano coins the term 'Attention Schema Theory" to his idea, and suggests that awareness (his attentional model) arises in the superior temporal sulcus and the temporoparietal junction. A paper discussing his theory can be found here: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00500/abstract This latter theory strikes an intuitive chord for me. Consciousness is what it feels like for the brain to continuously construct a model of attention - a model that changes moment by moment and which correlates a range of perceptual data and unconscious processing into a directive process for managing the organism's behaviour. Now, this is mostly beyond my pay grade, but it strikes me that here we have two somewhat complementary theories. If intermediate level representation is the what of consciousness and the attention schema is the how of consciousness, do these two theories therefore dovetail to some extent and point the way to an explanatory physical account of consciousness? Or is Graziano off-beam?