Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):829-842 (2014)

Authors
Jacob Berger
Lycoming College
Abstract
According to Rosenthal's higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness, one is in a conscious mental state if and only if one is aware of oneself as being in that state via a suitable HOT. Several critics have argued that the possibility of so-called targetless HOTs?that is, HOTs that represent one as being in a state that does not exist?undermines the theory. Recently, Wilberg (2010) has argued that HOT theory can offer a straightforward account of such cases: since consciousness is a property of mental state tokens, and since there are no states to exhibit consciousness, one is not in conscious states in virtue of targetless HOTs. In this paper, I argue that Wilberg's account is problematic and that Rosenthal's version of HOT theory, according to which a suitable HOT is both necessary and sufficient for consciousness, is to be preferred to Wilberg's account. I then argue that Rosenthal's account can comfortably accommodate targetless HOTs because consciousness is best understood as a property of individuals, not a property of states
Keywords Consciousness  HOT Theory  Misrepresentation
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1080/09515089.2013.771241
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.

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Citations of this work BETA

The HOROR Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness.Richard Brown - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1783-1794.
Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness.Peter Carruthers - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Transitivity and Transparency.Joseph Gottlieb - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (4):353-379.

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A Theory of Consciousness.David M. Rosenthal - 1997 - In Ned Block, Owen J. Flanagan & Guven Guzeldere (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness. MIT Press.
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