This paper overviews the current status of debates on tracking representationalism, the view that phenomenal consciousness is a matter of tracking features of one's environment in a certain way. We overview the main arguments for the view and the main objections and challenges it faces. We close with a discussion of alternative versions of representationalism that might overcome the shortcomings of tracking representationalism
|Keywords||representationalism intentionalism consciousness phenomenal character intentionality representation|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Added to index2012-12-24
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The problem with most forms of representationalism is that they do not actually close the explanatory gap. “Tracking representationalism” does not seem to be an exception. Beside the various possible objections explored in the paper, there remains the further objection that tracking representationalism, like its cousins, simply does not do what it aims to. It does not explain phenomenal consciousness, or why there is anything it is like to be in a mental state. The reason for this is that “what it is like” is a first-person experience, whereas talk of mental states, intentionality, tracking, etc., are third-person descriptions of events in the world, not of the phenomenal experience to which they correspond. What is missing is some strategy that can bridge the gap from third to first-person accounts—some way to “walk in the shoes of the brain”. To explain ... (read more)