David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Chandana Chakrabarti & Gordon Haist (eds.), Revisiting Mysticism. Cambridge Scholars Press 100--120 (2008)
There has been much discussion about the nature and even existence of so-called “pure conscious events” (PCEs). PCEs are often described as mental events which are non-conceptual and lacking all experiential content (Forman 1990). For a variety of reasons, a number of authors have questioned both the accuracy of such a characterization and even the very existence of PCEs (Katz 1978, Bagger 1999). In this chapter, I take a somewhat different, but also critical, approach to the nature and possibility of PCEs. I focus on several overlapping views found in recent analytic philosophy of mind and examine PCEs in light of them. After introducing terminology and some preliminary matters, I examine whether or not the “higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness” rules out the possibility of PCEs, and conversely, whether or not PCEs show that the HOT theory cannot apply to all conscious states. The HOT theory says that what makes a mental state conscious is that it is accompanied by a higher-order thought to the effect that “I am in mental state M now.” A related theme will be to assess PCEs in light of the recent debate between so-called “conceptualists” and those who believe that there are “non-conceptual contents of experience.” Conceptualism, to which I am very sympathetic, is basically the view that all conscious experience is structured by concepts possessed by the subject. I argue that PCEs are indeed conceptual and so no threat to conceptualism. For example, standard criticisms of conceptualism do not apply to PCEs. Finally, I examine the possibility that PCEs are not conscious at all. In the end, my overall conclusion is that we should hold that PCEs are indeed compatible with both HOT theory and conceptualism or seriously question the idea that PCEs are conscious at all.
|Keywords||pure conscious events consciousness concepts mysticism conceptualism higher-order thoughts|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jacob Berger (2014). Consciousness is Not a Property of States: A Reply to Wilberg. Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):829-842.
Similar books and articles
Rocco J. Gennaro (2003). Papineau on the Actualist HOT Theory of Consciousness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):581-586.
Rocco J. Gennaro (2012). The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts. MIT Press.
David Miguel Gray (2012). HOT: Keeping Up Appearances? Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.
David M. Rosenthal (2003). Unity of Consciousness and the Self. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):325-352.
Rocco J. Gennaro (2005). The HOT Theory of Consciousness: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (2):3-21.
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.
Robert W. Lurz (2003). Advancing the Debate Between HOT and FO Accounts of Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 28:23-44.
David Miguel Gray (2012). Hot. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.
George Seli (2012). The Utility of Conscious Thinking on Higher-Order Theory. Philosophical Explorations 15 (3):303 - 316.
David Rosenthal (2012). Higher-Order Awareness, Misrepresentation, and Function. Higher-Order Awareness, Misrepresentation and Function 367 (1594):1424-1438.
Caleb Liang & Timothy Lane (2009). Higher-Order Thought and Pathological Self: The Case of Somatoparaphrenia. Analysis 69 (4):661-668.
Richard Brown & Pete Mandik (2012). On Whether the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness Entails Cognitive Phenomenology, Or: What is It Like to Think That One Thinks That P? Philosophical Topics 40 (2):1-12.
Jacob Berger (2012). Do We Conceptualize Every Color We Consciously Discriminate? Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):632-635.
Added to index2011-05-20
Total downloads35 ( #121,397 of 1,934,456 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #91,699 of 1,934,456 )
How can I increase my downloads?