Mental Pointing

It is one thing to have phenomenal states and another thing to think about phenomenal states. Thinking about phenomenal states gives us knowledge that we have them and knowledge of what they are like. But how do we think about phenomenal states? These days, the most popular answer is that we use phenomenal concepts. Phenomenal concepts are presumed to be concepts that represent phenomenal states in a special, intrinsically phenomenal, way. The special nature of phenomenal concepts is said to be important for defending materialism against epistemic arguments for dualism. In this paper I present an account of phenomenal knowledge that does not depend on phenomenal concepts. In fact, I argue that we have no phenomenal concepts. Instead my account appeals to mental pointing, a process that I explain in terms of phenomenal demonstratives. Phenomenal demonstratives are sometimes referred to as concepts in the literature, but I suggest that this is a mistake. I also present a theory of phenomenal demonstratives that equates them with attentional control structures in working memory. In a concluding section I describe how this theory can be used to defuse the knowledge argument for dualism. That is only a subsidiary goal, and my response to the knowledge argument echoes others in the literature. I think the project of developing a substantive, empirically informed theory of phenomenal knowledge has interest independent of debates about mental ontology. That is my central focus. Thinking about phenomenal knowledge can shed light on the relationship between consciousness, attention and memory. This paper has a philosophical agenda and an empirical agenda. Those who reject my philosophical claims about the nonexistence of phenomenal concepts, the conditions..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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: 23,305
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Diana I. Pérez (2011). Phenomenal Concepts, Color Experience, and Mary's Puzzle. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):113-133.
Pär Sundström (2011). Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophy Compass 6 (4):267-281.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

140 ( #30,177 of 1,932,595 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #114,865 of 1,932,595 )

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.