Appendage theory -- pro and con

Journal of Mind and Behavior 13 (4):371-96 (1992)
Appendage theory seeks to identify the property of consciousness that makes conscious mental-occurrence instances conscious. For some years, Rosenthal has been proposing such a theory according to which "state consciousness" is due to a thought that accompanies, without apparent inference, each conscious mental state and affirms its occurrence. Every higher-order thought has reference to oneself as such, as well as to the target mental state. This is necessary, according to Rosenthal; otherwise, the higher-order thought would not find its target, would not be about the specific mental state it qualifies as conscious. The present article consists of arguments from Rosenthal's writings in support of his theory, and arguments that I formulate against his theory or arguments. I am specifically concerned with whether Rosenthal's account is, as he claims, superior to intrinsic theory, which holds that state consciousness is not an accompaniment, but is intrinsic to every conscious mental state. Rosenthal's theory needs to be improved in the following respects among others: explaining why we do not seem able to distinguish firsthand our state consciousness from the mental-occurrence instance that is its object; explaining how higher-order thoughts find their target without any reference to themselves; and explaining, not by means of a perceptionlike process, how higher-order thoughts give state consciousness of sensory qualities
Keywords Cartesianism  Consciousness  Intrinsic  Mental  Science
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