On the distinction between the object and the content of consciousness

Journal of Mind and Behavior 15 (3):239-64 (1994)
Abstract
This article treats of the distinction between objects and contents of pulses of consciousness - those minimal temporal sections of James's stream that give veridical or nonveridical consciousness of, or as though of, something, which can be anything perceivable, feelable, imaginable, thinkable, or internally apprehensible. The objects of pulses of consciousness are whatever the pulses mentally apprehend , whatever it is that they, by their occurrence, give awareness of respectively. Their contents are the particular ways in which they mentally apprehend their objects, or would mentally apprehend them in those cases in which their objects do not exist. I argue, inter alia, that not all pulses of consciousness have objects, though James holds that they all possess cognitive content; that centaurs can be neither objects nor contents of consciousness, since they do not, have not, and will not exist; and that some hallucinations whose objects are not physically present have objects anyway, such as a long lost relative or a historical figure. I consider four psychologists' views with which I disagree, views proposing a consciousness without content , a consciousness without objects , a consciousness of phenomenal items in a phenomenal environment , or a consciousness that systematically mistakes its constructed "objects" for their external counterparts
Keywords Consciousness  Content  Mental  Metaphysics  Object
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