What does language tell us about consciousness? First-person mental discourse and higher-order thought theories of consciousness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):221 – 238 (2002)
The fact that we can engage in first-person discourse about our own mental states seems, intuitively, to be bound up with consciousness. David Rosenthal draws upon this intuition in arguing for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness. Rosenthal's argument relies upon the assumption that the truth-conditions for "p" and "I think that p" differ. It is argued here that the truth-conditional schema debars "I think" from playing one of its (expressive) roles and thus is not a good test for what is asserted when "I think" is employed in making an assertoric utterance. The critique of Rosenthal's argument allows us to make explicit the intuitions which shape higher-order representation theories of consciousness in general. Consciousness and first-person mental discourse seem to be connected primarily because consciousness is (and was) an epistemic term, used to denote first-person knowledge of minds. Higher-order thought theories of consciousness draw upon this epistemic notion of consciousness, and because self-knowledge seems to involve higher-order representation, the higher-order theorist can deploy what is in effect an "error theory" about conscious experience disguised as a kind of conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of a conscious mental state. The conclusion reached is that there is unlikely to be a simple or direct path from considerations about mental discourse to conclusions about the nature of consciousness.
|Keywords||Consciousness First Person Language Metaphysics Mind Rosenthal, D|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Bernard J. Baars (1988). A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Cambridge University Press.
Ned Block (1995). On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Daniel C. Dennett (1978). Brainstorms. MIT Press.
Citations of this work BETA
David Allen & Kristin Cloyes (2005). The Language of 'Experience' in Nursing Research. Nursing Inquiry 12 (2):98-105.
Similar books and articles
Rocco J. Gennaro (1996). Consciousness and Self-Consciousness: A Defense of the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness. John Benjamins.
A. Minh Nguyen (2000). On a Searlean Objection to Rosenthal's Theory of State-Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 25 (January):83-100.
Neil Campbell Manson (2002). Epistemic Consciousness. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A 33 (3):425-441.
Robert W. Lurz (2003). Advancing the Debate Between HOT and FO Accounts of Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 28:23-44.
C. N. (2002). Epistemic Consciousness. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):425-441.
Richard Brown (2009). Review of 'Consciousness and its Function' by David Rosenthal. [REVIEW] Philosopher's Digest.
Robert Francescotti (1995). Higher-Order Thoughts and Conscious Experience. Philosophical Psychology 8 (3):239-254.
Alex Byrne (2004). What Phenomenal Consciousness is Like. In Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.), Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology. John Benjamins.
Katalin Balog (2000). Phenomenal Judgment and the HOT Theory: Comments on David Rosenthal’s “Consciousness, Content, and Metacognitive Judgments”. Consciousness and Cognition 9 (2):215-219.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads62 ( #22,998 of 1,096,601 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #99,452 of 1,096,601 )
How can I increase my downloads?