On the Content of Experience

The intentionalist about consciousness holds that the qualitative character of experience, “what it's like,” is determined by the contents of a select group of special intentional states of the subject. Fred Dretske (1995), Mike Thau (2002), Michael Tye (1995) and many others have embraced intentionalism, but these philosophers have not generally appreciated that, since we are intimately familiar with the qualitative character of experience, we thereby have special access to the nature of these contents. In this paper, we take advantage of this fact to show that intentionalism is incompatible with the idea that these contents are singular or general propositions, and thus that intentionalism is incompatible with one dominant trend in thinking about contents in general. In particular, there appear to be insoluble difficulties in explaining how the phenomenology of place and time can be explained by any intentionalist theory appealing to singular or general propositions
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