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Summary Higher-order perception theories of consciousness appeal to a perception-like higher-order state to explain the awareness which makes it the case that one is in a conscious mental state
Key works For a classic defense see: Lycan 2004
Introductions The same paper also serves as an introduction: Lycan 2004
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  1. William G. Lycan (2004). The Superiority of Hop to HOT. In Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.), Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology. John Benjamins. 93–114.
    What is consciousness?—to coin a question. According to “higher-order representation” (HOR) theories of consciousness, a mental state or event is a conscious state or event just in case it (itself) is the intentional object of one of the subject’s mental representations. That may sound odd, perhaps crazy. In fact, because of the richly diverse uses of the word “conscious” in contemporary philosophy of mind, it is bound to sound odd to many people. So I must begin by specifying what I (...)
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  2. William G. Lycan (1995). Consciousness as Internal Monitoring. Philosophical Perspectives 9:1-14.
    Locke put forward the theory of consciousness as "internal Sense" or "reflection"; Kant made it inner sense, by means of which the mind intuits itself or its inner state." On that theory, consciousness is a perception-like second-order representing of our own psychological states events. The term "consciousness," of course, has many distinct uses.
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  3. Wesley Sauret & William G. Lycan (2014). Attention and Internal Monitoring: A Farewell to HOP. Analysis 74 (3):363-370.