David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 152 (3):361-383 (2011)
In this paper, I argue against the claim recently defended by Josh Weisberg that a certain version of the self-representational approach to phenomenal consciousness cannot avoid a set of problems that have plagued higher-order approaches. These problems arise specifically for theories that allow for higher-order misrepresentation or—in the domain of self-representational theories—self-misrepresentation. In response to Weisberg, I articulate a self-representational theory of phenomenal consciousness according to which it is contingently impossible for self-representations tokened in the context of a conscious mental state to misrepresent their objects. This contingent infallibility allows the theory to both acknowledge the (logical) possibility of self-misrepresentation and avoid the problems of self-misrepresentation. Expanding further on Weisberg’s work, I consider and reveal the shortcomings of three other self-representational models—put forward by Kreigel, Van Gulick, and Gennaro—in order to show that each indicates the need for this sort of infallibility. I then argue that contingent infallibility is in principle acceptable on naturalistic grounds only if we attribute (1) a neo-Fregean kind of directly referring, indexical content to self-representational mental states and (2) a certain ontological structure to the complex conscious mental states of which these indexical self-representations are a part. In these sections I draw on ideas from the work of Perry and Kaplan to articulate the context-dependent semantic structure of inner-representational states.
|Keywords||Phenomenal consciousness Higher-order representationalism Self-representationalism Infallibility Naturalism Indexical content|
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References found in this work BETA
Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.) (1989). Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press, Usa.
Dan Zahavi (2005). Subjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the First-Person Perspective. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.
David J. Chalmers (1996). The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Richard Brown (2015). The HOROR Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1783-1794.
Chad Kidd (2015). The Idols of Inner-Sense. Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1759-1782.
Vincent Picciuto (2015). Keeping It Real: Intentional Inexistents, Fineness‐of‐Grain, and the Dilemma for Extrinsic Higher‐Order Representational Theories. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1):n/a-n/a.
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