Numerous theories of consciousness hold that there are separate neural correlates of conscious experience and cognitive function, aligning with the assumption that there are ‘hard ’ and ‘easy ’ problems of consciousness. Here, we argue that any neurobiological theory based on an experience/function division cannot be empirically confirmed or falsified and is thus outside the scope of science. A ‘perfect experiment ’ illustrates this point, highlighting the unbreachable boundaries of the scientific study of consciousness. We describe a more nuanced notion of cognitive access that captures personal experience without positing the existence of inaccessible conscious states. Finally, we discuss the criteria necessary for forming and testing a falsifiable theory of consciousness
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