Situation theory, as developed by Barwise and his collaborators, is used to demonstrate the possibility of defining teleology (and related notions, like that of proper or biological function) in terms of higher order causation, along the lines suggested by Taylor and Wright. This definition avoids the excessive narrowness that results from trying to define teleology in terms of evolutionary history or the effects of natural selection. By legitimating the concept of teleology, this definition also provides promising new avenues for (...) solving long standing problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the problems of intentionality and mental causation. (shrink)
We have a familiar idea of levels of description or levels of theory in science: microphysics, atomic physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and the various social sciences. It is clear that philosophers - such as Terry Horgan - who want to be nonreductive materialists with regard to the mental must hold that this is not mere description; there must be genuine higher-level causes, and hence, genuine higher-level properties, in particular mental properties and causes. But there appears to be a deep problem (...) concerning mental causes. The (micro-) physical world is causally closed. Mental states are - or depend on or are realized by - physical states. It seems, then, that the physical state on which a mental state depends will be responsible for any alleged effects of the mental state. There will be no room for mental causation. And if properties exist insofar at they have a causal role, there will be no room for mental properties either. Many philosophers - Horgan included - have seen this problem of the "causalexclusion" ofthe mental as a specialcase of a general problem:the exclusion of higher-level causes by the causal closure of microphysics. Suppose one higher-level state, H1 leads to another higher-level state, H2. H1 is realized by some base level state, B1, which leads to a base-level state, B2, which in turn realizes H2. All of the casual work, so to speak, takes place at the base level. There is no room for any genuine causal connection between H1, as such, and H2, as such. I argue that there is no problem about higher-ordercausation in general. There are genuine, unsurprising higher-level causes and properties. A ball roles, for example, or breaks a window. If there is a problem of exclusion regarding putative mental causes, it is not an instance of a general exclusion problem, but is sui generis, and mental causation remains mysterious. (shrink)
Conscious mental states are states we are in some way aware of. I compare higher-order theories of consciousness, which explain consciousness by appeal to such higher-order awareness (HOA), and first-order theories, which do not, and I argue that higher-order theories have substantial explanatory advantages. The higher-order nature of our awareness of our conscious states suggests an analogy with the metacognition that figures in the regulation of psychological processes and behaviour. I argue that, although both consciousness and (...) metacognition involve higher-order psychological states, they have little more in common. One thing they do share is the possibility of misrepresentation; just as metacognitive processing can misrepresent one’s cognitive states and abilities, so the HOA in virtue of which one’s mental states are conscious can, and sometimes does, misdescribe those states. A striking difference between the two, however, has to do with utility for psychological processing. Metacognition has considerable benefit for psychological processing; in contrast, it is unlikely that there is much, if any, utility to mental states’ being conscious over and above the utility those states have when they are not conscious. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that a person is justified in believing a proposition iff the person's evidence on balance supports that proposition. In discussing epistemological issues associated with disagreements among epistemic peers, some philosophers have endorsed principles that seem to run contrary to evidentialism, specifying how one should revise one's beliefs in light of disagreement. In this paper, I examine the connection between evidentialism and these principles. I argue that the puzzles about disagreement provide no reason to abandon evidentialism and (...) that there are no true general principles about justified responses to disagreement other than the general evidentialist principle. I then argue that the puzzles about disagreement are primarily puzzles about the evidential impact of higher-order evidence – evidence about the significance or existence of ordinary, or first-order, evidence. I conclude by arguing that such higher-order evidence can often have a profound effect on the justification of first-order beliefs. (shrink)
This paper concerns would-be necessary connections between doxastic attitudes about the epistemic statuses of your doxastic attitudes, or , and the epistemic statuses of those doxastic attitudes. I will argue that, in some situations, it can be reasonable for a person to believe p and to suspend judgment about whether believing p is reasonable for her. This will set the stage for an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, on which humility is a matter of your higher-order epistemic (...) attitudes. Recent discussions in the epistemology of disagreement have assumed that the question of the proper response to disagreement about p concerns whether you ought to change your doxastic attitude towards p. My conclusion here suggests an alternative approach, on which the question of the proper response to disagreement about p concerns the proper doxastic attitude to adopt concerning the epistemic status of your doxastic attitude towards p. (shrink)
Conciliatory views of disagreement maintain that discovering a particular type of disagreement requires that one make doxastic conciliation. In this paper I give a more formal characterization of such a view. After explaining and motivating this view as the correct view regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement, I proceed to defend it from several objections concerning higher-order evidence (evidence about the character of one's evidence) made by Thomas Kelly (2005).
The purpose of this paper is to challenge some widespread assumptions about the role of the modal axiom S4 in a theory of vagueness. In the context of vagueness, S4 usually appears as the principle ‘If it is clear (determinate, definite) that A, then it is clear (determinate, definite) that it is clear (determinate, definite) that A’, or, more formally, CA → CCA. We show how in the debate over S4 two different notions of clarity are in play (Williamson-style "luminosity" (...) or self-revealing clarity and concealeable clarity) and what their respective functions are in accounts of higher-order vagueness. On this basis, we argue first that, contrary to common opinion, higher-order vagueness and S4 are perfectly compatible. This is in response to claims like that by Williamson that, if vagueness is defined with the help of a clarity operator that obeys S4, higher-order vagueness disappears. Second, we argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) bivalence-preservers (e.g. epistemicists) can without contradiction condone S4 (by adopting what elsewhere we call columnar higher-order vagueness), and (ii) bivalence-discarders (e.g. open-texture theorists, supervaluationists) can without contradiction reject S4. Third, we rebut a number of arguments that have been produced by opponents of S4, in particular those by Williamson. (The paper is pitched towards graduate students with basic knowledge of modal logic.). (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Stewart Shapiro recently argued that there is no higher-order vagueness. More specifically, his thesis is: (ST) ‘So-called second-order vagueness in ‘F’ is nothing but first-order vagueness in the phrase ‘competent speaker of English’ or ‘competent user of “F”’. Shapiro bases (ST) on a description of the phenomenon of higher-order vagueness and two accounts of ‘borderline case’ and provides several arguments in its support. We present the phenomenon (as Shapiro describes it) and the accounts; then discuss Shapiro’s arguments, (...) arguing that none is compelling. Lastly, we introduce the account of vagueness Shapiro would have obtained had he retained compositionality and show that it entails true higher-order vagueness. (shrink)
This paper bridges art history and consciousness studies and investigates the network of gazes and frames in Las Meninas and how this engages with a system of higher-order thoughts and reflexive operations.
It is common among philosophers who take an interest in the phenomenon of vagueness in natural language not merely to acknowledge higher-order vagueness but to take its existence as a basic datum— so that views that lack the resources to account for it, or that put obstacles in the way, are regarded as deficient just on that score. My main purpose in what follows is to loosen the hold of this deeply misconceived idea. Higher-order vagueness is no basic (...) datum but an illusion, fostered by misunderstandings of the nature of (ordinary, if you will ‘first-order’) vagueness itself. To see through the illusion is to take a step that is prerequisite for a correct understanding of vagueness, and for any satisfying dissolution of its attendant paradoxes. (shrink)
This paper discusses Fara's so-called 'Paradox of Higher-Order Vagueness' concerning supervaluationism. In the paper I argue that supervaluationism is not committed to global validity, as it is largely assumed in the literature, but to a weaker notion of logical consequence I call 'regional validity'. Then I show that the supervaluationist might solve Fara's paradox making use of this weaker notion of logical consequence. The paper is discussed by Delia Fara in the same volume.
This paper argues that higher-order doubt generates an epistemic dilemma. One has a higher-order doubt with regards to P insofar as one justifiably withholds belief as to what attitude towards P is justified. That is, one justifiably withholds belief as to whether one is justified in believing, disbelieving, or withholding belief in P. Using the resources provided by Richard Feldman’s recent discussion of how to respect one’s evidence, I argue that if one has a higher-order doubt with (...) regards to P, then one is not justified in having any attitude towards P. Otherwise put: No attitude towards the doubted proposition respects one’s higher-order doubt. I argue that the most promising response to this problem is to hold that when one has a higher-order doubt about P, the best one can do to respect such a doubt is to simply have no attitude towards P. Higher-order doubt is thus much more rationally corrosive than non-higher-order doubt, as it undermines the possibility of justifiably having any attitude towards the doubted proposition. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper shows that authors who have recently argued that higher-order vagueness is incoherent, paradoxical, illusory or non-existent confound elements of higher-order vagueness with elements of a different paradigm of borderline borderline cases; and that, once the elements of that other paradigm are removed from the description of higher-order vagueness, the basis for the claims of paradoxicality, etc., disappears. The paper sets out the two paradigms (higher-order vagueness vs borderline nestings) and their logics (iterated modalities (...) vs. mixed-order non-empty predicates), illustrates how the notion of hierarchical higher-order vagueness gains its persuasiveness from a conflation of these paradigms, and shows how the alternative notion of columnar higher-order vagueness preserves coherence and relevance to the Sorites. .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... ................................ -/- Section 1 presents the notion of hierarchical vagueness. Section 2 compares two ordinary language uses of “borderline case”: epistemic and classificatory use. Section 3 lays out the basic logical requirements for higher-order vagueness and shows that it can be columnar rather than hierarchical. Section 4 presents the paradigm of borderline nestings and its logic. Section 5 lists sources for the conflation of classificatory use plus borderline nestings with epistemic use plus higher-order vagueness. Section 6 shows how such conflation undermines the arguments against higher-order vagueness by Sainsbury, Shapiro, Raffman, Wright, Williamson. Section 7 concludes with a note on columnar higher-order vagueness and the Sorites. (shrink)
The paper presents a new theory of higher-order vagueness. This theory is an improvement on current theories of vagueness in that it (i) describes the kind of borderline cases relevant to the Sorites paradox, (ii) retains the ‘robustness’ of vague predicates, (iii) introduces a notion of higher-order vagueness that is compositional, but (iv) avoids the paradoxes of higher-order vagueness. The theory’s central building-blocks: Borderlinehood is defined as radical unclarity. Unclarity is defined by means of competent, rational, informed (...) speakers (‘CRISPs’) whose competence, etc., is indexed to the scope of the unclarity operator. The unclarity is radical since it eliminates clear cases of unclarity and, that is, clear borderline cases. This radical unclarity leads to a (bivalence-compatible, non-intuitionist) absolute agnosticism about the semantic status of all borderline cases. The corresponding modal system would be a non-normal variation on S4M. (shrink)
In The Consciousness Paradox, Rocco Gennaro aims to solve an underlying paradox, namely, how it is possible to hold a number of seemingly inconsistent views, including higher-order thought (HOT) theory, conceptualism, infant and animal ...
Higher Order theories of consciousness have their fair share of sympathisers, but the arguments mustered in their support are—to my mind—unduly persuasive. My aim in this paper is to show that Higher Order theories cannot accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation without either falling into contradiction, or collapsing into a First-Order theory. If this diagnosis is on the right track, then Higher Order theories—at least in the specific versions here considered—fail to give an account of what they set out to explain: (...) what is distinctive of ‘conscious’ phenomena. (shrink)
The naive theory of vagueness holds that the vagueness of an expression consists in its failure to draw a sharp boundary between positive and negative cases. The naive theory is contrasted with the nowadays dominant approach to vagueness, holding that the vagueness of an expression consists in its presenting borderline cases of application. The two approaches are briefly compared in their respective explanations of a paramount phenomenon of vagueness: our ignorance of any sharp boundary between positive and negative cases. These (...) explanations clearly do not provide any ground for choosing the dominant approach against the naive theory. The decisive advantage of the former over the latter is rather supposed to consist in its immunity to any form of sorites paradox. But another paramount phenomenon of vagueness is higher-order vagueness: the expressions (such as ‘borderline’ and ‘definitely’) introduced in order to express in the object language the vagueness of the object language are themselves vague. Two highly plausible claims about higher-order vagueness are articulated and defended: the existence of “definitely ω ” positive and negative cases and the “radical” character of higher-order vagueness itself. Using very weak logical principles concerning vague expressions and the ‘definitely’-operator, it is then shown that, in the presence of higher-order vagueness as just described, the dominant approach is subject to higher-order sorites paradoxes analogous to the original ones besetting the naive theory, and therefore that, against the communis opinio , it does not fare substantially better with respect to immunity to any form of sorites paradox. (shrink)
We discuss the one?many problem as it appears in the Philebus and find that it is not restricted to the usually understood problem about the identity of universals across particulars that instantiate them (the Hylomorphic Dispersal Problem). In fact some of the most interesting aspects of the problem occur purely with respect to the relationship between Forms. We argue that contemporary metaphysicians may draw from the Philebus at least three different one?many relationships between universals themselves: instantiation, subkind and part, and (...) thereby construct three new ?problems of the one and the many? (an Eidetic Dispersal Problem, a Genus?Species Problem, and an Eidetic Combination Problem), which are as problematic as the version generally discussed. We then argue that this taxonomy sheds new and interesting light on certain discussions of higher-order universals in recent Australian analytic philosophy. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Hierarchical higher-order vagueness leads to incoherence when used as a means to avoid a sharp boundary in the Sorites paradox (Sainsbury 1990, Wright 1992, Shapiro 2006). The challenge is to provide (i) a compositional notion of higher-order vagueness that (ii) allows infinite higher orders, (iii) retains the desired relevance to the Sorites, (iv) allows for a model-theoretic representation that reflects such relevance, but (v) does not run into paradox. The recently introduced alternative of columnar higher-order vagueness (...) meets this challenge. The present paper explains what columnar higher-order vagueness is; gives a formalization of its core properties in terms of an axiomatic modal system; produces a modal semantics for its simplest (bivalent & classical) form and identifies its characteristic axiom; and supplies a philosophical interpretation of the semantics that utilizes both viewpoint sensitivity and extensional context sensitivity. The paper adds an illustration of how the semantics can be used as an infrastructure for epistemicist (and non-epistemicist) bivalent theories of vagueness and touches upon possible modifications for three-valued logics. It concludes with listing the considerable advantages columnar higher-order vagueness has over other theories of higher-order vagueness. (shrink)
In his 2009 article “Self-Representationalism and Phenomenology,” Uriah Kriegel argues for self-representationalism about phenomenal consciousness primarily on phenomenological grounds. Kriegel’s argument can naturally be cast more broadly as an argument for higher-order representationalism. I examine this broadened version of Kriegel’s argument in detail and show that it is unsuccessful for two reasons. First, Kriegel’s argument (in its strongest form) relies on an inference to the best explanation from the claim that all experiences of normal adult human beings are accompanied (...) by peripheral awareness of those very experiences to the claim that all experiences are accompanied by peripheral awareness of those very experiences. This inference is inadequately defended, for the explanandum may also be given a straightforward evolutionary explanation. Second, contra Kriegel, I argue that phenomenological investigation does not support the thesis that we are always peripherally aware of our experiences. Instead, it delivers no verdict on this thesis. Kriegel’s phenomenological mistake may be explained via a highly diluted version of the famous transparency thesis about experience. (shrink)
A touchstone of much modern theorizing about the mind is the idea, still tac- itly accepted by many, that a state's being mental implies that it's conscious. This view is epitomized in the dictum, put forth by theorists as otherwise di-.
According to higher-order theories of consciousness, a mental state is conscious only when represented by another mental state. Higher-order theories must predict there to be some brain areas (or networks of areas) such that, because they produce (the right kind of) higher-order states, the disabling of them brings about deficits in consciousness. It is commonly thought that the prefrontal cortex produces these kinds of higher-order states. In this paper, I first argue that this is likely correct, (...) meaning that, if some higher-order theory is true, prefrontal lesions should produce dramatic deficits in visual consciousness. I then survey prefrontal lesion data, looking for evidence of such deficits. I argue that no such deficits are to be found, and that this presents a compelling case against higher-order theories. (shrink)
Recently, some philosophers have argued that we should take quantification of any (finite) order to be a legitimate and irreducible, sui generis kind of quantification. In particular, they hold that a semantic theory for higher-order quantification must itself be couched in higher-order terms. Øystein Linnebo has criticized such views on the grounds that they are committed to general claims about the semantic values of expressions that are by their own lights inexpressible. I show that Linnebo’s objection rests on (...) the assumption of a notion of semantic value or contribution which both applies to expressions of any order, and picks out, for each expression, an extra-linguistic correlate of that expression. I go on to argue that higher-orderists can plausibly reject this assumption, by means of a hierarchy of notions they can use to describe the extra-lingustic correlates of expressions of different orders. (shrink)
This article presents a characterization of higher-order risk preferences such as prudence or temperance in terms of statistical moments. Our results, which are generalizations of Roger (Theory Decis, 70(1):27–44, 2011) and Ekern (Econ Lett, 6(4), 329–333, 1980), give a better understanding of how higher-order risk preferences relate to skewness preference and kurtosis aversion. While they are not based on expected utility theory, an implication within that theory is that all commonly used utility functions exhibit skewness preference and kurtosis (...) aversion. (shrink)
Let us by ‘first-order beliefs’ mean beliefs about the world, such as the belief that it will rain tomorrow, and by ‘second-order beliefs’ let us mean beliefs about the reliability of first-order, belief-forming processes. In formal epistemology, coherence has been studied, with much ingenuity and precision, for sets of first-order beliefs. However, to the best of our knowledge, sets including second-order beliefs have not yet received serious attention in that literature. In informal epistemology, by contrast, sets of the latter kind (...) play an important role in some respectable coherence theories of knowledge and justification. In this paper, we extend the formal treatment of coherence to second-order beliefs. Our main conclusion is that while extending the framework to second-order beliefs sheds doubt on the generality of the notorious impossibility results for coherentism, another problem crops up that might be no less damaging to the coherentist project: facts of coherence turn out to be epistemically accessible only to agents who have a good deal of insight into matters external to their own belief states. (shrink)
The existing literature on savings, insurance, and portfolio choices under risk has revealed that quite often comparative statics results depend, among other things, upon the values of the coefficients of relative risk aversion and relative prudence. More specifically the benchmark values for these coefficients are, respectively, one and two. Recently, several papers investigated constraints on the higher degree extensions of the coefficients of relative risk aversion and of relative prudence. The present work provides a unified approach to this question based (...) on the concept of elementary correlation increasing transformations, allowing for a better understanding of changes in risk in the multiplicative case. (shrink)
Robb & Heil describe a higher-order version of the popular Causal Exclusion Problem. In particular, they ask whether the argument that led to a change in focus from event causation to causal relevance of properties can be iterated, leading us to focus on the causal relevance of properties of those properties, or properties of properties of those properties, and so on. In this paper, I investigate this curious higher-order problem and argue that the appeal of both the (...) original argument and its iterations reflects a lack of understanding of causal relata and a problem with the notion of causal relevance. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to develop and defend a novel answer to a question that has recently generated a considerable amount of controversy. The question concerns the normative significance of peer disagreement. Suppose that you and I have been exposed to the same evidence and arguments that bear on some proposition: there is no relevant consideration which is available to you but not to me, or vice versa. For the sake of concreteness, we might picture.
Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation or mental image? In this paper (...) we will present two arguments that a “yes” answer to this question of cognitive phenomenology can be obtained via appeal to the HOT theory of consciousness, especially the version articulated and defended by David Rosenthal. (shrink)
Philosophers disagree about whether vagueness requires us to admit truth-value gaps, about whether there is a gap between the objects of which a given vague predicate is true and those of which it is false on an appropriately constructed sorites series for the predicate—a series involving small increments of change in a relevant respect between adjacent elements, but a large increment of change in that respect between the endpoints. There appears, however, to be widespread agreement that there is some sense (...) in which vague predicates are gappy which may be expressed neutrally by saying that on any appropriately constructed sorites series for a given vague predicate there will be a gap between the objects of which the predicate is deﬁnitely true and those of which it is deﬁnitely false. Taking as primitive the operator ‘it is deﬁnitely the case that’, abbreviated as ‘D’, we may stipulate that a predicate F is deﬁnitely true (or deﬁnitely false) of an object just in case ‘DF (a)’, where a is a name for the object, is true (or false) simpliciter.1 This yields the following conditional formulation of a ‘gap principle’: (DΦ(x) ∧ D¬Φ(y)) → ¬R(x, y). Here ‘Φ’ is to be replaced with a vague predicate, while ‘R’ is to stand for a sorites relation for that predicate: a relation that can be used to construct a sorites series for the predicate—such as the relation of being just one millimetre shorter than for the predicate ‘is tall’. Disagreements about the sense in which it is correct to say that vague predicates are gappy can then be recast as disagreements about how to understand the deﬁnitely operator. One might give it, for example, a pragmatic construal such as ‘it would not be misleading to assert that’; or an epistemic construal such as ‘it is known that’ or ‘it is knowable that’; or a semantic construal such as ‘it is true that’. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to evaluate Frank Jackson and Philip Pettitâs âprogram explanationâ framework as an account of the autonomy of the special sciences. We argue that this framework can only explain the autonomy of a limited range of special science explanations. The reason for this limitation is that the framework overlooks a distinction between two kinds of properties, which we refer to as âhigher-levelâ and âhigher-orderâ properties. The program explanation framework can account for the autonomy of special (...) science explanations that appeal to higher-level properties but it does not account for the autonomy of most of those explanations that appeal to higher-order properties. (shrink)
The methodological nonreductionism of contemporary biology opens an interesting discussion on the level of ontology and the philosophy of nature. The theory of emergence (EM), and downward causation (DC) in particular, bring a new set of arguments challenging not only methodological, but also ontological and causal reductionism. This argumentation provides a crucial philosophical foundation for the science/theology dialogue. However, a closer examination shows that proponents of EM do not present a unified and consistent definition of DC. Moreover, they find (...) it difficult to prove that higher-order properties can be causally significant without violating the causal laws that operate at lower physical levels. They also face the problem of circularity and incoherence in their explanation. In our article we show that these problems can be overcome only if DC is understood in terms of formal rather than physical (efficient) causality. This breakdown of causal monism in science opens a way to the retrieval of the fourfold Aristotelian notion of causality. (shrink)
Currently, one of the most influential theories of consciousness is Rosenthal’s version of higher-order-thought (HOT). We argue that the HOT theory allows for two distinct interpretations: a one-componentand a two-component view. We further argue that the two-component view is more consistent with his effort to promote HOT as an explanatory theory suitable for application to the empirical sciences.Unfortunately, the two-component view seems incapable of handling a group of counterexamples that we refer to as cases of radical confabulation. We begin (...) by introducing the HOT theory and by indicating why we believe it is open to distinct interpretations. We then proceed to show that it is incapable of handling cases of radical confabulation. Finally, in the course of considering various possible responses to our position, we show that adoption of a disjunctive strategy, one that would countenance both one-component and two-component versions, would fail to provide any empirical or explanatory advantage. (shrink)
The higher order approach to consciousness attempts to build a theory of consciousness from the insight that a conscious state is one that the subject is conscious of. There is a well-known objection1 to the higher order approach, a version of which is fatal. Proponents of the higher order approach have realized that the objection is significant. They have dealt with it via what David Rosenthal calls a “retreat” (2005b, p. 179) but that retreat fails to solve the problem.
According to Rosenthal’s Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theory of consciousness, first-order mental states become conscious only when they are targeted by HOTs that necessarily represent the states as belonging to self. On this view a state represented as belonging to someone distinct from self could not be a conscious state. Rosenthal develops this view in terms of what he calls the ‘thin immunity principle’ (TIP). According to TIP, when I experience a conscious state, I cannot be wrong about whether it (...) is I who I think is in that state. We first suggest that TIP is a direct consequence of the HOT theory. Next we argue that somatoparaphrenia—a pathology in which sensations are sometimes represented as belonging to other people—shows that TIP can be violated. This violation of TIP in turn shows that the HOT theory’s claim that conscious states are necessarily represented as belonging to self is in error. Rosenthal’s attempt to account for pathological cases is found to be inadequate when applied to somatoparaphrenia, and other possible defenses are also shown to be incapable of preserving TIP. We further conclude by suggesting that the HOT theory’s failing in this regard is not a failing that is peculiar to this theory of consciousness. (shrink)
For purposes of this paper, a conscious state is a mental state whose subject is directly or at least nonevidentially aware of being in it. (The state does not count as conscious if the subject has only been told about it by a cognitive scientist or psychologist; introspectively would be better, but no one should say that a state is conscious only if its subject actively introspects it.). N.b., this usage is only one among several quite different though of course (...) not competing ones; the phrase has been used in at least two other senses, as by, respectively, Dretske (1993, 1995) and Block (1995).1 My definition is stipulative, but not brutely so; it settles on one thing that is often meant by conscious state cf. a conscious memory, a conscious desire, a conscious intention, a conscious decision. According to higher-order (HO) theories of consciousness in this sense of consciousness, what makes a mental state a conscious one is that it is represented by another of the subject’s mental states, that in virtue of which s/he is aware of it. Some practitioners follow Locke in taking the higher-order state to be quasi-perceptual (Armstrong, 1968, 1980, Lycan 1991, 1996); others say it may be merely a thought about the original state (Rosenthal, 1986, 1990).2 There is an alleged objection to such theories, that originated with Goldman (1993)Error: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMap3 and has since been voiced and discussed by others (Dretske 1995, Stubenberg 1998, Van Gulick 2000, 2005, Gennaro 2005, Kriegel 2009). I say alleged, because. (shrink)
In ‘Epistemic Modals’ (2007), Seth Yalcin proposes Stalnaker-style semantics for epistemic possibility. He is inspired by John MacFarlane’s ingenious defence of relativism, in which claims of epistemic possibility are made rigidly from the perspective of the assessor’s actual stock of information (rather than from the speaker’s knowledge base or that of his audience or community). The innovations of MacFarlane and Yalcin independently reinforce the modal collapse espoused by Jaakko Hintikka in his 1962 epistemic logic (which relied on the implausible KK (...) principle and heavy idealizations). I respond to this new challenge with fresh objections to the underlying S4 equivalence: p p . I also propose counter-analyses of the intriguing data which Yalcin cites in support of his new semantics. A key collateral motivation for this defence of irredundant iterations is to ward off a threat to higher order vagueness. (shrink)
Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they have subjectively-accessible (...) feels; or as some would say, when they have qualia (see fn.1 below).) Others have thought that we can undermine the credibility of those thought-experiments by allowing that we possess purely recognitional concepts for the properties of our conscious mental states. This paper is concerned to explain, and then to meet, the challenge of showing how purely recognitional concepts are possible if there are no such things as qualia--in the strong sense of intrinsic (non-relational, non-intentional) properties of experience. It argues that an appeal to higher-order experiences is necessary to meet this challenge, and then deploys a novel form of higher-order thought theory to explain how such experiences are generated. (shrink)
Following a short introduction, this chapter begins by contrasting two different forms of higher-order perception (HOP) theory of phenomenal consciousness - inner sense theory versus a dispositionalist kind of higher-order thought (HOT) theory - and by giving a brief statement of the superiority of the latter. Thereafter the chapter considers arguments in support of HOP theories in general. It develops two parallel objections against both first-order representationalist (FOR) theories and actualist forms of HOT theory. First, neither can give (...) an adequate account of the distinctive features of our recognitional concepts of experience. And second, neither can explain why there are some states of the relevant kinds that are phenomenal and some that aren. (shrink)
I argue against such "Relation Intentionalist" theories of consciousness as the higher-order thought and inner sense views on the grounds that they understand a subject's awareness of his or her phenomenal characters to be intentional, like seeming-seeing, rather than "direct", like seeing. The trouble with such views is that they reverse the order of explanation between phenomenal character and intentional awareness. A superior theory of consciousness, based on views expressed by Russell and Price, takes the relation of awareness to (...) be a nonintentional "acquaintance". (shrink)
The fact that we can engage in first-person discourse about our own mental states seems, intuitively, to be bound up with consciousness. David Rosenthal draws upon this intuition in arguing for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness. Rosenthal's argument relies upon the assumption that the truth-conditions for "p" and "I think that p" differ. It is argued here that the truth-conditional schema debars "I think" from playing one of its (expressive) roles and thus is not a good test (...) for what is asserted when "I think" is employed in making an assertoric utterance. The critique of Rosenthal's argument allows us to make explicit the intuitions which shape higher-order representation theories of consciousness in general. Consciousness and first-person mental discourse seem to be connected primarily because consciousness is (and was) an epistemic term, used to denote first-person knowledge of minds. Higher-order thought theories of consciousness draw upon this epistemic notion of consciousness, and because self-knowledge seems to involve higher-order representation, the higher-order theorist can deploy what is in effect an "error theory" about conscious experience disguised as a kind of conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of a conscious mental state. The conclusion reached is that there is unlikely to be a simple or direct path from considerations about mental discourse to conclusions about the nature of consciousness. (shrink)
Discussions of higher-order vagueness rarely define what it is for a term to have nth-order vagueness for n>2. This paper provides a rigorous definition in a framework analogous to possible worlds semantics; it is neutral between epistemic and supervaluationist accounts of vagueness. The definition is shown to have various desirable properties. But under natural assumptions it is also shown that 2nd-order vagueness implies vagueness of all orders, and that a conjunction can have 2nd-order vagueness even if its conjuncts do (...) not. Relations between the definition and other proposals are explored; reasons are given for preferring the present proposal. (shrink)