Consciousness and Conceptual Schema

In Paavo Pylkkanen & Tere Vaden (eds.), Dimensions of Conscious Experience. John Benjamins. 15-43 (2001)
There are two importantly different ways in which consciousness resists incorporation into our familiar object-based conceptual schema which, when analysed, help to explain why it is regarded as such a philosophically recalcitrant phenomena. One concerns the nonconceptual nature of basic forms of conscious experience, the other concerns the fact that attempts to understand the nature of such experience in an object-based schema, as is demanded by some forms of physicalism, is inappropriate. My concern in this paper is to show how certain central problems concerning our attempts to understand consciousness can be recast or dissolved if we take note of these aspects of phenomenal experience. Before addressing these issues a few words of clarification are in order. Without refinements, talk of schema has Kantian overtones. For example, consider Tye’s claim that, “Once the sensory input is brought under the appropriate schema, belief formation can take place” (Tye 1996: 66).1 Nevertheless, it is useful to talk of ‘schema’ specifically in order to waylay confusion with an issue, which Davidson long ago advertised about the impossibility of there being radically different conceptual schemes. Since I will be denying that our concepts of phenomenal consciousness can be incorporated into an object-based schema, it might be thought that advocating the existence of incommensurable conceptual schema ignores Davidson’s important lesson concerning radically different conceptual schemes. But it does not. Davidson’s point concerns the radical interpretation of an alien language of which we can make no sense. In contrast, what we have here is two different schema, both of..
Keywords *Concepts  *Consciousness States  *Philosophies  *Schema
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