Descartes discarded? Introspective self-awareness and the problems of transparency and compositionality☆
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 19 (3):751-761 (2010)
What has the self to be like such that introspective awareness of it is possible? The paper asks if Descartes’s idea of an inner self can be upheld and discusses this issue by invoking two principles: the phenomenal transparency of experience and the semantic compositionality of conceptual content. It is assumed that self-awareness is a second-order state either in the domain of experience or in the domain of thought. In the former case self-awareness turns out empty if experience is transparent. In the latter, it can best be conceived of as a form of mental quotation. Various proposed analyses of direct and indirect quotation are discussed and tested regarding their applicability to thought. It is concluded that, on the assumption of compositionality, the inner self is only insofar accessible to awareness as it has an accessible phonological structure, as apparently only inner speech does
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