David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 12 (2):181-196 (1999)
This essay examines the grammatical structure underlying the use of the word "conscious". Despite the existence of this grammatical structure, I reject the assumption that actual consciousness has a similar structure. Specifically, I reject the claim that consciousness consists of three subtypes: state consciousness, transitive consciousness, and creature consciousness. I offer an inductive argument and a deductive argument that no such psychological entities exist. The inductive argument: given the lack of evidence or arguments for the entities and given that a tripartite consciousness structure evolved from a tripartite grammatical habit, it would be far too coincidental if the grammatical distinction mirrored a psychological distinction. The deductive argument (a reductio ad absurdum) shows that absurd conclusions follow from assuming the existence of three distinct psychological entities. Furthermore, the verbal habits that motivate the distinction are rendered more intelligible under a "Unitary Thesis", the idea that verbal distinctions involving use of the word "conscious" are unified in their reliance on a single ontological unit, that of conscious experience
|Keywords||Consciousness English Philosophy Psychology Science|
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Citations of this work BETA
Jakob Hohwy (2009). The Neural Correlates of Consciousness: New Experimental Approaches Needed? Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):428-438.
Neil C. Manson (2011). Why “Consciousness” Means What It Does. Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):98-117.
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