Philosophical Studies 139 (1):39-56 (2008)

Authors
Rocco J. Gennaro
University of Southern Indiana
Abstract
It is often said that some kind of peripheral (or inattentional) conscious awareness accompanies our focal (attentional) consciousness. I agree that this is often the case, but clarity is needed on several fronts. In this paper, I lay out four distinct theses on peripheral awareness and show that three of them are true. However, I then argue that a fourth thesis, commonly associated with the so-called "self-representational approach to consciousness," is false. The claim here is that we have outer focal consciousness accompanied often (or even always) by inner peripheral (self-)awareness. My criticisms stem from both methodological and phenomenological considerations. In doing so, I offer a diagnosis as to why the fourth thesis has seemed true to so many and also show how the so-called "transparency of experience," frequently invoked by representationalists, is importantly relevant to my diagnosis. Finally, I respond to several objections and to further attempts to show that thesis four is true. What emerges is that if one wishes to hold that some form of self-awareness accompanies all outer-directed conscious states, one is better off holding that such self-awareness is itself unconscious, as is held for example by standard higher-order theories of consciousness.
Keywords Representationalism  Self-representationalism  Peripheral awareness  Transparency of experience  Higher-order thoughts
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Reprint years 2008
DOI 10.1007/s11098-007-9101-4
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References found in this work BETA

Consciousness and Mind.David Rosenthal - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Intrinsic Quality of Experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.

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Citations of this work BETA

Cotard Syndrome, Self-Awareness, and I-Concepts.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (1).
Self-Representationalism and Phenomenology.Uriah Kriegel - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):357-381.
Editorial: Consciousness and Inner Awareness.Jonathan Farrell & Tom McClelland - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (1):1-22.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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