Are There Pure Conscious Events?

In Chandana Chakrabarti & Gordon Haist (eds.), Revisiting Mysticism. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 100--120 (2008)
Abstract
There has been much discussion about the nature and even existence of so-called “pure conscious events” (PCEs). PCEs are often described as mental events which are non-conceptual and lacking all experiential content (Forman 1990). For a variety of reasons, a number of authors have questioned both the accuracy of such a characterization and even the very existence of PCEs (Katz 1978, Bagger 1999). In this chapter, I take a somewhat different, but also critical, approach to the nature and possibility of PCEs. I focus on several overlapping views found in recent analytic philosophy of mind and examine PCEs in light of them. After introducing terminology and some preliminary matters, I examine whether or not the “higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness” rules out the possibility of PCEs, and conversely, whether or not PCEs show that the HOT theory cannot apply to all conscious states. The HOT theory says that what makes a mental state conscious is that it is accompanied by a higher-order thought to the effect that “I am in mental state M now.” A related theme will be to assess PCEs in light of the recent debate between so-called “conceptualists” and those who believe that there are “non-conceptual contents of experience.” Conceptualism, to which I am very sympathetic, is basically the view that all conscious experience is structured by concepts possessed by the subject. I argue that PCEs are indeed conceptual and so no threat to conceptualism. For example, standard criticisms of conceptualism do not apply to PCEs. Finally, I examine the possibility that PCEs are not conscious at all. In the end, my overall conclusion is that we should hold that PCEs are indeed compatible with both HOT theory and conceptualism or seriously question the idea that PCEs are conscious at all.
Keywords pure conscious events  consciousness  concepts  mysticism  conceptualism  higher-order thoughts
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,781
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Consciousness is Not a Property of States: A Reply to Wilberg.Jacob Berger - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):829-842.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Papineau on the Actualist HOT Theory of Consciousness.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):581-586.
HOT: Keeping Up Appearances?David Miguel Gray - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.
Unity of Consciousness and the Self.David M. Rosenthal - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):325-352.
The HOT Theory of Consciousness: Between a Rock and a Hard Place.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (2):3-21.
Hot.David Miguel Gray - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.
The Utility of Conscious Thinking on Higher-Order Theory.George Seli - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (3):303 - 316.
Higher-Order Awareness, Misrepresentation, and Function.David Rosenthal - 2012 - Higher-Order Awareness, Misrepresentation and Function 367 (1594):1424-1438.
Do We Conceptualize Every Color We Consciously Discriminate?Jacob Berger - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):632-635.
Added to PP index
2011-05-20

Total downloads
40 ( #133,978 of 2,199,428 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #299,438 of 2,199,428 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature