David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):325-352 (2003)
The so-called unity of consciousness consists in the compelling sense we have that all our conscious mental states belong to a single conscious subject. Elsewhere I have argued that a mental state's being conscious is a matter of our being conscious of that state by having a higher-order thought (HOT) about it. Contrary to what is sometimes argued, this HOT model affords a natural explanation of our sense that our conscious states all belong to a single conscious subject. HOTs often group states together, so that each HOT is about a cluster of target states; single HOTs represent qualitative states as spatially unified and intentional states as unified inferentially. More important, each HOT makes one conscious of oneself in a seemingly immediate way, encouraging a sense of unity across HOTs. And the same considerations that make us assume that our first-person thoughts all refer to the same self apply also to HOTs; becoming conscious of our HOTs in introspection thus leads to a sense that our conscious states are unified in a single self. I argue that neither essential-indexical reference to oneself nor the alleged immunity to error through misidentification conflicts with this account. I close by discussing the apparent connection of unity with free agency
|Keywords||Consciousness Mental States Metaphysics Self Thought|
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Citations of this work BETA
Friederike Moltmann (2006). Generic 'One', Arbitrary PRO, and the First Person. Natural Language Semantics 14 (3):257–281.
Tim Bayne (2005). Divided Brains and Unified Phenomenology: A Review Essay on Michael Tye's Consciousness and Persons. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 18 (4):495-512.
Tim Bayne (2013). Précis of The Unity of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):200-208.
Tim Bayne (2013). Response to Commentators. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):223-229.
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