Indirect representation and the self-representational theory of consciousness

Philosophical Studies 167 (2):273-290 (2014)
According to Uriah Kriegel’s self-representational theory of consciousness, mental state M is conscious just in case it is a complex with suitably integrated proper parts, M 1 and M 2, such that M 1 is a higher-order representation of lower-order representation M 2. Kriegel claims that M thereby “indirectly” represents itself, and he attempts to motivate this claim by appealing to what he regards as intuitive cases of indirect perceptual and pictorial representation. For example, Kriegel claims that it’s natural to say that in directly perceiving the front surface of an apple one thereby perceives the apple itself. Cases such as this are supposed to provide intuitive support for the principle that if X represents Y, and Y is highly integrated into complex object Z, then X indirectly represents Z. In this paper I provide counterexamples to Kriegel’s principle of indirect representation, before going on to argue that we can explain what is going on in those cases in which the subject seems to represent a complex whole by representing one its parts without positing indirect representations anyway. I then argue that my alternative approach is superior to Kriegel’s in a number of ways, thereby rendering his theory of consciousness implausible
Keywords Consciousness  The self-representational theory of consciousness  The HOT theory of consciousness  Indirect representation  Perceptual representation  Complexes
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0087-1
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,675
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David M. Rosenthal (1986). Two Concepts of Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 49 (May):329-59.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ben Phillips (2016). Contextualism About Object-Seeing. Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2377-2396.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

109 ( #38,770 of 2,223,896 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

17 ( #29,217 of 2,223,896 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.