Is self-representation necessary for consciousness?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Psyche 12 (2) (2006)
Brook and Raymont do not assert that self-representing representations are sufficient to generate consciousness, but they do assert that they are necessary, at least in the sense that self-representation provides the most plausible mechanism for generating conscious mental states. I argue that a first-order approach to consciousness is equally capable of accounting for the putative features of consciousness which are supposed to favor the self-representational account. If nothing is gained the simplicity of the first-order theory counts in its favor. I also advance a speculative proposal that we are never aware of any distinctively mental attributes of our own states of consciousness except via an independent act of reflective conceptualization, although this goes rather farther than the first-order theory strictly requires.
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