Recent work on phenomenal consciousness has featured a number of debates on the existence and character of controversial types of phenomenology. Perhaps the best-‐ known is a debate over the existence of a proprietary, irreducible cognitive phenomenology – a phenomenology proper to thought. Others concern the existence of irreducible agential or conative phenomenology, irreducible emotional phenomenology, and so on. In this paper, I argue that the act of entertaining a proposition also exhibits a distinctive phenomenology, a primitive phenomenology irreducible to (...) any other. After clarifying the notion of primitive phenomenology (§1) and elaborating the thesis that entertaining exhibits one (§2), I present a prima facie case for the thesis (§3). (shrink)
Consider the following argument: When a phenomenon P is observable, any legitimate understanding of P must take account of observations of P; some mental phenomena – certain conscious experiences – are introspectively observable; so, any legitimate understanding of the mind must take account of introspective observations of conscious experiences. This paper offers a (preliminary and partial) defense of this line of thought. Much of the paper focuses on a specific challenge to it, which I call Schwitzgebel’s Challenge: the claim that (...) introspection is so untrustworthy that its indispensability for a genuine understanding of the mind only shows that no genuine understanding of the mind is possible. (shrink)
It is a curious fact about mainstream discussions of animal rights that they are dominated by consequentialist defenses thereof, when consequentialism in general has been on the wane in other areas of moral philosophy. In this paper, I describe an alternative, non‐consequentialist ethical framework (combining Kantian and virtue‐ethical elements) and argue that it grants (conscious) animals more expansive rights than consequentialist proponents of animal rights typically grant. The cornerstone of this non‐consequentialist framework is the thought that the virtuous agent is (...) s/he who has the stable and dominating disposition to treat all conscious animals, including non‐human conscious animals, as ends and not mere means. (shrink)
Perhaps the philosophical thesis most commonly associated with Brentano is that intentionality is the mark of the mental. But in fact Brentano often and centrally uses also what he calls ‘inner perception’ to demarcate the mental. In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Brentano’s conception of the interrelations between mentality, intentionality, and inner perception. According to this interpretation, Brentano took the concept of mind to be a natural-kind concept, with intentionality constituting the underlying nature of the mental and (...) inner-perceivability serving as the concept’s reference-fixer. (shrink)
According to what I will refer to as the ‘received view,’ at least some intentional states are propositional attitudes, construed as relations to propositions (§1). The received view faces some extraordinary difficulties (§2). In this paper, I propose that these difficulties may be avoided if we adopt the radically different view of intentional states developed by Franz Brentano. Brentano’s view is different from the received view in two crucial respects. First, according to Brentano every intentional state is an objectual attitude (...) – none is a propositional attitude (§3). The judgment that some dogs are cute, for example, is just the act of acknowledging (the existence of) a cute dog. Secondly, for Brentano (at least late in his career), objectual attitudes are not relations to objects; they are non-relational properties of subjects (§4). The judgment that some dogs are cute involves an experience as of standing in a relation to a cute dog, but that experience may or may not be veridical (depending on whether the judgment is true or not). These ideas sound strange to our contemporary ears, but I contend that once we familiarize ourselves with them, and see how they work, the portrait of the attitudes that emerges can be appreciated as not only intriguing but also plausible. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
According to an influential conception of reasons for action, the presence of a desire or some other conative state in the agent is a necessary condition for the agent’s havinga reason for action. This is sometimes known as internalism . In this paper I present a case for the considerably stronger thesis, which I call hyper-internalism , that the presence of a desire is a sufficient condition for the agent’s having a ( prima facie )reason for action.
In the philosophy of mind, the study of mental life has tended to focus on three central aspects of mental states: their representational content, their functional role, and their phenomenal character. The representational content of a mental state is what the state represents, what it is about; its functional role is the role it plays within the functional organization of the subject’s overall psychology; its phenomenal character is the experiential or subjective quality that goes with what it is like, from (...) the inside, to be in it. The study of this third aspect of mental life is known as phenomenology. Thus, moral phenomenology is the study of the experiential dimension of our moral inner life – of the phenomenal character of moral mental states. (shrink)
We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
In defense of self-representationalism: reply to critics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9764-8 Authors Uriah Kriegel, Department of Philosophy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Abstract Let ?monism? be the view that there is only one basic object?the world. Monists face the question of whether there are also non-basic objects. This is in effect the question of whether the world decomposes into parts. Jonathan Schaffer maintains that it does, Terry Horgan and Matja? Potr? that it does not. In this paper, I propose a compromise view, which I call ?Kantian monism.? According to Kantian monism, the world decomposes into parts insofar as an ideal subject under (...) ideal conditions would divide it into parts, but it does not decompose into parts in and of itself, that is, in an entirely mind-independent manner. After articulating Kantian monism more precisely (Section 1), I present a prima facie case for preferring it over more standard varieties of monism (Section 2). (shrink)
In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the (...) inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (?1) and a discussion of Gendler's alief/belief distinction (?2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (?3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (?4). (shrink)
The current orthodoxy on mental representation can be characterized in terms of three central ideas. The -rst is ontological, the second semantic, and the third methodological. The ontological tenet is that mental representation is a two-place relation holding between a representing state and a represented entity (object, event, state of a.airs). The semantic tenet is that the relation in question is probably information-theoretic at heart, perhaps augmented teleologically, functionally, or teleo-functionally to cope with di/cult cases. The methodological tenet is that (...) mental representations are posited solely on third-person explanatory grounds. In this paper, I argue that this picture of mental representation is satisfactory only as an account of mental representation at the sub-personal level. It is unsatisfactory, in a principled way, as an account of mental representation at the personal level. (shrink)
According to the old feeling theory of emotion, an emotion is just a feeling: a conscious experience with a characteristic phenomenal character. This theory is widely dismissed in contemporary discussions of emotion as hopelessly naïve. In particular, it is thought to suffer from two fatal drawbacks: its inability to account for the cognitive dimension of emotion (which is thought to go beyond the phenomenal dimension), and its inability to accommodate unconscious emotions (which, of course, lack any phenomenal character). In this (...) paper, I argue that the old feeling theory is in reality only a pair of modifications removed from a highly plausible account of the nature of emotion that retains the essential connection between emotion and feeling. These modifications are, moreover, motivated by recent developments in work on phenomenal consciousness. The first development is the rising recognition of a phenomenal character proper to cognition—so-called cognitive phenomenology. The second is the gathering momentum behind various ‘connection principles’ that specify some connection that a given state must bear to phenomenally conscious states in order to qualify as mental. These developments make it possible to formulate a new feeling theory of emotion, which would overcome the two fatal drawbacks of the old feeling theory. According to the new feeling theory, an emotion is a mental state that bears the right connection to conscious experiences with the right phenomenal character (involving, among other elements, a cognitive phenomenology). (shrink)
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
According to the self-representational theory of consciousness – self- representationalism for short – a mental state is phenomenally conscious when, and only when, it represents itself in the right way. In this paper, I consider how self- representationalism might address the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal consciousness and physical properties. I open with a presentation of self- representationalism and the case for it (§1). I then present what I take to be the most promising self-representational approach to the explanatory gap (...) (§2). That approach is threatened, however, by an objection to self-representationalism, due to Levine, which I call the just more representation objection (§3). I close with a discussion of how the self-representationalist might approach the objection (§4). (shrink)
In a series of publications, Eli Hirsch has presented a sustained defense of common-sense ontology. Hirsch's argument relies crucially on a meta-ontological position sometimes known as ‘superficialism’. Hirsch's argument from superficialism to common-sense ontology is typically resisted on the grounds that superficialism is implausible. In this paper, I present an alternative argument for common-sense ontology, one that relies on (what I argue is) a much more plausible meta-ontological position, which I call ‘constructivism’. Note well: I will not quite argue that (...) constructivism is true; merely that it is significantly more plausible than superficialism, and consequently affords a safer route to common-sense ontology. Thus my main goal in the paper is not quite to establish common-sense ontology, nor for that matter to refute Hirsch's argument for it. My goal is, in a way, more expressive than argumentative: I wish to articulate a novel meta-ontological position, one that I take to be in no way obviously less plausible than already familiar positions, and to point out that the position probably leads to common-sense ontology. I open, in section 1, with a discussion of Hirsch's argument and the main objection to it. I then develop, in section 2, a sketch of the alternative meta-ontology I have in mind. I close, in section 3, with the argument that this alternative meta-ontology, too, leads to common-sense ontology. (shrink)
Of all the problems attending the sense-datum theory, arguably the deepest is that it draws a veil of appearances over the external world. Today, the sense-datum theory is widely regarded as an overreaction to the problem of hallucination. Instead of accounting for hallucination in terms of intentional relations to sense data, it is often thought that we should account for it in terms of intentional relations to properties. In this paper, however, I argue that in the versions that might address (...) the problem of hallucination, this newer account is guilty of a vice similar to sense-datum theory’s: it draws a veil of abtracta over the concrete world. (shrink)
One of the most enduring elements of Davidson’s legacy is the idea that intentionality is inherently normative. The normativity of intentionality means different things to different people and in different contexts, however. A subsidiary goal of this paper is to get clear on the sense in which Davidson means the thesis that intentionality is inherently normative. The central goal of the paper is to consider whether the thesis is true, in light of recent work on intentionality that insists on an (...) intimate connection between intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. According to several recent authors, there is a kind of intentionality – “phenomenal intentionality” – that is fully constituted by the phenomenal character of conscious experiences. I will argue that although Davidson’s thesis, when correctly understood, is compelling for most intentionality, it is false of phenomenal intentionality. I start, in §1, with an explication of the notion of phenomenal intentionality; in §2, I elucidate Davidson’s thesis and his case for it; in §3, I argue that the case does not extend to phenomenal intentionality; I close, in §4, with some objections and replies. (shrink)
To a first approximation, self-representationalism is the view that a mental state M is phenomenally conscious just in case M represents itself in the appropriate way. Proponents of self-representationalism seem to think that the phenomenology of ordinary conscious experience is on their side, but opponents seem to think the opposite. In this paper, I consider the phenomenological merits and demerits of self-representationalism. I argue that there is phenomenological evidence in favor of self-representationalism, and rather more confidently, that there is no (...) phenomenological evidence against self-representationalism. (shrink)
John Searle has argued that all perceptual experiences are token-reflexive, in the sense that they are constituents of their own veridicality conditions. Many philosophers have found the kind of token-reflexivity he attributes to experiences, which I will call _causal_ token-reflexivity, unfaithful to perceptual phenomenology. In this paper, I develop an argument for a different sort of token-reflexivity in perceptual (as well as some non- perceptual) experiences, which I will call _temporal_ token-reflexivity, and which ought to be phenomenologically unobjectionable.
Locke’s theory of consciousness is often appropriated as a forerunner of present-day Higher-Order Perception (HOP) theories, but not much is said about it beyond that. We offer an interpretation of Locke’s account of consciousness that portrays it as crucially different from current-day HOP theory, both in detail and in spirit. In this paper, it is argued that there are good historical and philosophical reasons to attribute to Locke the view not that conscious states are accompanied by higher-order perceptions, but rather (...) that conscious states constitute perceptions of themselves. (shrink)
In this paper, we present a conditional argument for the moral permissibility of some kinds of infanticide. The argument is based on a certain view of consciousness and the claim that there is an intimate connection between consciousness and infanticide. In bare outline, the argument is this: it is impermissible to intentionally kill a creature only if the creature is conscious; it is reasonable to believe that there is some time at which human infants are conscious; therefore, it is reasonable (...) to believe that it is permissible to intentionally kill some human infants. (shrink)
We argue that the letter of the Extended Mind hypothesis can be accommodated by a strongly internalist, broadly Cartesian conception of mind. The argument turns centrally on an unusual but (we argue) highly plausible view on the mark of the mental.
Abstract: The 'special composition question' is this: given objects O1, . . . , On, under what conditions is there an object O, such that O1, . . . , On compose O? This paper explores a heterodox answer to this question, one that casts composition as a secondary quality. According to the approach I want to consider, there is an O that O1, . . . , On compose (roughly) just in case a normal intuiter would, under normal conditions, (...) intuit that there is. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the what, the how, and the why of moral phenomenology. I consider first the question What is moral phenomenology?, secondly the question How to pursue moral phenomenology?, and thirdly the question Why pursue moral phenomenology? My treatment of these questions is preliminary and tentative, and is meant not so much to settle them as to point in their answers’ direction.
The ontology of (merely) intentional objects is a can of worms. If we can avoid ontological commitment to such entities, we should. In this paper, I offer a strategy for accomplishing that. This is to reject the traditional act-object account of intentionality in favor of an adverbial account. According to adverbialism about intentionality, having a dragon thought is not a matter of bearing the thinking-about relation to dragons, but of engaging in the activity of thinking dragon-wise.
It has often been thought that our knowledge of ourselves is _different_ from, perhaps in some sense _better_ than, our knowledge of things other than ourselves. Indeed, there is a thriving research area in epistemology dedicated to seeking an account of self-knowledge that would articulate and explain its difference from, and superiority over, other knowledge. Such an account would thus illuminate the descriptive and normative difference between self-knowledge and other knowledge.<sup>1</sup> At the same time, self- knowledge has also encountered its (...) share of skeptics – philosophers who refuse to accord it any descriptive, let alone normative, distinction. In this paper, we argue that there is at least one _species_ of self-knowledge that is different from, and better than, other knowledge. It is a specific kind of knowledge of one’s concurrent phenomenal experiences. Call knowledge of one’s own phenomenal experiences _phenomenal knowledge_. Our claim is that some (though not all) phenomenal knowledge is different from, and better than, non-phenomenal knowledge. In other. (shrink)
b>. One major problem many hypotheses regarding the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) face is what we might call “the why question”: _why _would this particular neural feature, rather than another, correlate with consciousness? The purpose of the present paper is to develop an NCC hypothesis that answers this question. The proposed hypothesis is inspired by the Cross-Order Integration (COI) theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness arises from the functional integration of a first-order representation of an external stimulus and (...) a second-order representation of that first-order representation. The proposal comes in two steps. The first step concerns the “general shape” of the NCC and can be directly derived from COI theory. The second step is a concrete hypothesis that can be arrived at by combining the general shape with empirical considerations. (shrink)
Since Francis Crick popularized the term `Neural Correlate of Consciousness' (NCC), it has been the focus of what is perhaps the most exciting research area in the cognitive sciences. Different researchers and laboratories have offered different brain structures as candidates for the NCC prize. Different chunks of gray matter have been identified as the potential seat of consciousness. Some researchers attempt to identify the NCC via a characterization of the cognitive aspects of consciousness, such as its functional significance or intentional (...) directedness, while others attempt a direct identification of the NCC, without any cognitive intermediary. Needless to say, no consensus is in sight on any of this. (shrink)
How come we can represent Bigfoot even though Bigfoot does not exist, given that representing something involves bearing a relation to it and we cannot bear relations to what does not exist?This is the problem of intentional inexistence. This paper develops a two-step solution to this problem, involving (first) an adverbial account of conscious representation, or phenomenal inten- tionality, and (second) the thesis that all representation derives from conscious representation (all intentionality derives from phenomenal intentionality). The solution is correspondingly two-part: (...) we can consciously represent Bigfoot because consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather instantiating a certain non-relational (“adverbial”) property of representing Bigfoot-wise; and we can non-consciously represent Bigfoot because non-consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather bearing a relation to conscious representations of Bigfoot. (shrink)
Philosophical work on self-consciousness has mostly focused on the identification and articulation of specific epistemic and semantic peculiarities of self-consciousness, peculiarities which distinguish it from consciousness of things other than oneself. After drawing certain fundamental distinctions, and considering the conditions for the very possibility of self-consciousness, this article discusses the nature of those epistemic and semantic peculiarities.
Disputes about what is phenomenologically manifest in conscious experience have a way of leading to deadlocks with remarkable immediacy. Disputants reach the foot-stomping stage of the dialectic more or less right after declaring their discordant views. It is this fact, I believe, that leads some to heterophenomenology and the like attempts to found Consciousness Studies on purely third-person grounds. In this paper, I explore the other possible reaction to this fact, namely, the articulation of methods for addressing phenomenological disputes. I (...) suggest two viable methods, of complementary value, which I call “the method of contrast” and “the method of knowability.”. (shrink)
In this paper we present a two-stage argument against Peter Carruthers' theory of phenomenal consciousness. The first stage shows that Carruthers' main argument against first-order representational theories of phenomenal consciousness applies with equal force against his own theory. The second stage shows that if Carruthers can escape his own argument against first-order theories, it will come at the cost of wedding his theory to certain unwelcome implausibilities. discusses Carruthers' argument against first-order representationalism. presents Carruthers' theory of consciousness. presents our argument (...) against Carruthers' theory. sums up. (shrink)
Phenomenal consciousness is the property mental states, events, and processes have when, and only when, there is something it is like for their subject to undergo them, or be in them. What it is like to have a conscious experience is customarily referred to as the experience’s phenomenal character. Theories of consciousness attempt to account for this phenomenal character. This article surveys the currently prominent theories, paying special attention to the various attempts to explain a state’s phenomenal character in terms (...) of its representational content. (shrink)
This chapter surveys current approaches to consciousness in Anglo-American analytic philosophy. It focuses on five approaches, to which I will refer as mysterianism, dualism, representationalism, higher-order monitoring theory, and self-representationalism. With each approach, I will present in order (i) the leading account of consciousness along its line, (ii) the case for the approach, and (iii) the case against the approach. I will not issue a final verdict on any approach, though by the end of the chapter it should be evident (...) where my own sympathies lie. (shrink)
One of the promising approaches to the problem of consciousness has been the Higher-Order Monitoring Theory of Consciousness. According to the Higher-Order Monitoring Theory, a mental state M of a subject S is conscious iff S has another mental state, M*, such that M* is an appropriate representation of M. Recently, several philosophers have developed a Higher-Order Monitoring theory with a twist. The twist is that M and M* are construed as entertaining some kind of constitutive relation, rather than being (...) logically independent of each other. We may call this the Same-Order Monitoring Theory of Consciousness. In this paper, I discuss the nature of the Same-Order Monitoring Theory and argue for its superiority over the more traditional Higher-Order Monitoring Theory. (shrink)
Abstract. When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": (i) the bluish aspect and (ii) the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitative character and the for-me aspect its subjective character. What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character, of conscious experience? In (...) this paper, I examine six different attempts to account for subjective character in terms of the functional and representational properties of conscious experiences. After arguing against the first five, I defend the sixth. (shrink)
The notion that there is a single type of entity in terms of which the whole world can be described has fallen out of favor in recent Ontology. There are only two serious exceptions to this. Factualists (Skyrms 1981, Armstrong 1997) hold that the world can be fully described in terms of facts. Trope theorists (Williams 1953, Campbell 1981, 1990) hold that it can be fully described in terms of tropes. Yet the relationship between facts and tropes remains obscure in (...) both camps’ writings. In this note, a distinction between (the names of) events and facts, due to Vendler and Bennett, is extended to distinguish between (the names of) tropes and facts. On its basis, a portrait of the domain of abstract particulars is sketched. The purpose is to contribute to our understanding of both forms of (if you will) metaphysical monism by offering a principled distinction between them. (shrink)
In recent philosophy of mind, it is often assumed that consciousness and self-consciousness are two separate phenomena. In this paper, I argue that this is not quite right. The argument proceeds in two phases. First, I draw a distinction between (i) being self-conscious of a thought that p and (ii) self-consciously thinking that p. I call the former transitive self-consciousness and the latter intransitive self-consciousness. I then argue that consciousness does depend on intransitive self-consciousness, and that the common reasons for (...) denying the dependence of consciousness upon self-consciousness apply only to transitive self-consciousness. (shrink)
Propositions such as <It is raining, but I do not believe that it is raining> are paradoxical, in that even though they can be true, they cannot be truly asserted or believed. This is Moore’s paradox. Sydney Shoemaker has recently ar- gued that the paradox arises from a constitutive relation that holds between ﬁrst- and second-order beliefs. This paper explores this approach to the paradox. Although Shoemaker’s own account of the paradox is rejected, a diﬀerent account along similar lines is (...) endorsed. At the core of the endorsed account is the claim that conscious beliefs are always partly about themselves; it will be shown to follow from this that conscious beliefs in Moorean propositions are self-contradictory. (shrink)
One of the promising approaches to the problem of perceptual consciousness has been the representational theory, or representationalism. The idea is to reduce the phenomenal character of conscious perceptual experiences to the representational content of those experiences. Most representationalists appeal specifically to non-conceptual content in reducing phenomenal character to representational content. In this paper, I discuss a series of issues involved in this representationalist appeal to non-conceptual content. The overall argument is the following. On the face of it, conscious perceptual (...) experience appears to be experience of a structured world, hence to be at least partly conceptual. To validate the appeal to non-conceptual content, the representationalist must therefore hold that the content of experience is partly conceptual and partly non-conceptual. But how can the conceptual and the non-conceptual combine to form a single content? The only way to make sense of this notion, I argue, leads to a surprising consequence, namely, that the representational approach to perceptual consciousness is a disguised form of functionalism. (shrink)
In this paper, a theoretical account of the functional role of consciousness in the cognitive system of normal subjects is developed. The account is based upon an approach to consciousness that is drawn from the phenomenological tradition. On this approach, consciousness is essentially peripheral self-awareness, in a sense to be duly explained. It will be argued that the functional role of consciousness, so construed, is to provide the subject with just enough information about her ongoing experience to make it possible (...) for her to easily obtain as much information as she may need. The argument for this account of consciousness' functional role will proceed in three main stages. First, the phenomenological approach to consciousness as peripheral self-awareness will be expounded and endorsed. Second, an account of the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness will be offered. Finally, the account of the functional role of peripheral self-awareness will be obtained by straightforward extension from the functional role of peripheral perceptual awareness. (shrink)
The paper discusses Colin McGinn’s mysterianist approach to the phenomenon of consciousness. According to McGinn, consciousness is, in and of itself, a fully natural phenomenon, but we humans are just cognitively closed to it, meaning that we cannot in principle understand its nature. I argue that, on a proper conception of the relation between an intellectual problem and its solution, we may well not know what the solution is to a problem we understand, or we may not understand exactly what (...) the problem is, but it is incoherent to suppose that we cannot understand what would count as a solution to a problem we can and do understand. The argument appeals to certain accepted assumption in the logic of questions, developed in the early sixties, mainly by Stahl. I close with a general characterization of mysterianism as such, and formulate a form of mysterianism which is in some sense more optimistic and in another more pessimistic than McGinn’s. (shrink)
The concept of appearance has had the historical misfortune of being associated with a Kantian or idealist program in metaphysics. Within this program, appearances are treated as "internal objects" that are immaterial and exert no causal powers over the physical world. However, there is a more mundane and innocuous notion of appearance, in which to say that x appears to y is just to say that y perceives x. In this more mundane sense of the term, an appearance is a (...) perceived object ? qua perceived. In this paper, I try and develop an account of the metaphysic of appearances in this more mundane sense. The account is developed within the framework of Trope Theory. After defining the notion of a "phenomenal trope," I construe appearances as special bundles of phenomenal tropes. I then use this account to develop an approach to the thorny issue of appearance individuation. (shrink)
The word ?consciousness? is notoriously ambiguous. This is mainly because it is not a term of art, but a mundane word we all use quite frequently, for different purposes and in different everyday contexts. In this paper, I discuss consciousness in one specific sense of the word. To avoid the ambiguities, I introduce a term of art ? intransitive self-consciousness ? and suggest that this form of self-consciousness is an essential component of the folk notion of consciousness. I then argue (...) for a specific account of consciousness as intransitive self-consciousness. According to this account, a mental state is conscious (i.e., intransitively self-conscious) iff it represents its own occurrence. The argument is a ?modernizing? modification of an older argument due to Aristotle and Brentano. (shrink)
When a mental state is conscious â in the sense that there is something it is like for the subject to have it â it instantiates a certain property F in virtue of which it is a conscious state. It is customary to suppose that F is the property of having sensory quality. The paper argues that this supposition is false. The first part of the paper discusses reasons for thinking that unconscious mental states can have a sensory quality, for (...) example in cases of absent-minded perception. If unconscious mental states can have a sensory quality, then sensory quality is an insufficient condition for consciousness. The second part of the paper argues that there are even better reasons to think that sensory quality is an unnecessary condition for consciousness. The idea is that mental states can be conscious even when they lack sensory quality, for example, in the case of certain conscious propositional attitudes. In the third part of the paper, an alternative to the rejected supposition, drawn from the phenomenological tradition, is offered: that consciousness is a matter of implicit self-awareness, rather than of sensory quality. According to this alternative, a mental state is conscious when, and only when, it involves implicit self-awareness. (shrink)
One of the distinctive properties of conscious states is the peculiar self- awareness implicit in them. Two rival accounts of this self-awareness are discussed. According to a Neo-Brentanian account, a mental state M is conscious iff M represents its very own occurrence. According to the Higher-Order Monitoring account, M is merely accompanied by a numerically distinct representation of its occurrence. According to both, then, M is conscious in virtue of ﬁguring in a higher-order content. The disagreement is over the question (...) whether the higher-order content is carried by M itself or by a differ- ent state. While the Neo-Brentanian theory is phenomenologically more attractive, it is often felt to be somewhat mysterious. It is argued (i) that the difference between the Neo- Brentanian and Higher-Order Monitoring theories is smaller and more empirical than may initially seem, and (ii) that the Neo-Brentanian theory can be readily demystiﬁed. These considerations make it prima facie preferable to the Higher-Order Monitoring theory. (shrink)
It is often assumed thatconsciousness and intentionality are twomutually independent aspects of mental life.When the assumption is denounced, it usuallygives way to the claim that consciousness issomehow dependent upon intentionality. Thepossibility that intentionality may bedependent upon consciousness is rarelyentertained. Recently, however, John Searle andColin McGinn have argued for just suchdependence. In this paper, I reconstruct andevaluate their argumentation. I am in sympathyboth with their view and with the lines ofargument they employ in its defense. UnlikeSearle and McGinn, however, I am (...) quite attachedto a naturalist approach to intentionality. Itwill turn out to be somewhat difficult toreconcile naturalism with the notion thatintentionality is dependent upon consciousness,although, perhaps surprisingly, I will arguethat McGinn's case for such dependence iscompatible with naturalism. (shrink)
Consciosuness is the property mental-occurrence instances have when the subject has immediate awareness of them. According to intrinsic theory, this immediate awareness is intrinsic to the conscious4 mental-occurrence instance, whereas according to appendage theory, it forms a separate mental-occurrence instance. Assuming, rather than arguing for, the correctness of intrinsic theory, this paper investigates a number of theses about the specific intentional content of the immediate awareness built into conscious4 mental-occurrence instances. These theses are mostly drawn from work conducted within the (...) framework of appendage theory, especially by David Rosenthal. After transposing them into the conceptual framework of intrinsic theory, we discuss the merits of each of these theses. (shrink)
Michael Tye has recently argued that the phenomenal character of conscious experiences is "one and the same as" (1) Poised (2) Abstract (3) Non-conceptual (4) Intentional Content (PANIC). Tye argues extensively that PANIC Theory accounts for differences in phenomenal character in representational terms. But another task of a theory of phenomenal consciousness is to account for the difference between those mental states that have phenomenal character at all and those that do not. By going through each of the four qualifiers (...) of PANIC, we argue that PANIC Theory fails to account for this difference in genuinely representational terms. We suggest, furthermore, that the reasons it fails are likely to be endemic to all representational theories of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)