Consciousness and the state/transitive/creature distinction

Philosophical Psychology 12 (2):181-196 (1999)
Abstract
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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