What is the Structure of Self-Consciousness and Conscious Mental States?

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):295-309 (2022)
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Abstract

I believe that there is a ubiquitous pre-reflective self-awareness accompanying first-order conscious states. However, I do not think that such self-awareness is itself typically conscious. On my view, conscious self-awareness enters the picture during what is sometimes called “introspection” which is a more sophisticated form of self-consciousness. I argue that there is a very close connection between consciousness and self-consciousness and, more specifically, between the structure of all conscious states and self-consciousness partly based on the higher-order thought theory of consciousness. A plausible notion of self-consciousness is, I think, simply having any degree of higher-order or meta-psychological thought. I argue that the connection between conscious states and self-consciousness is representational but also critically evaluate several different options. I then critique the alternative “acquaintance” theory of self-awareness and address a couple of recent criticisms of HOT theory. There is the potential danger of misrepresentation between self-awareness and conscious states which I also briefly address.

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Rocco J. Gennaro
University of Southern Indiana

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References found in this work

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

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