Erkenntnis 69 (2):243-259 (2008)
William Lycan has articulated “a simple argument” for higher-order representation (HOR) theories of a variety of consciousness sometimes labeled ‘awareness consciousness’ (Lycan, Analysis 61.1, January 3–4, 2001). The purpose of this article is to critically assess the influential argument-strategy of the simple argument. I argue that, as stated, the simple argument fails since it is invalid. Moreover, I argue that an obvious “quick fix” would beg the question against competing same-order representation (SOR) theories of awareness consciousness. I then provide a reconstruction of the argument and argue that although the reconstructed argument deserves consideration, it is also too simple as stated. In particular, it raises several controversial questions about the nature of mental representation. These questions must be addressed before a verdict as to the cogency of the HOR argument-strategy can be reached. But since the questions are controversial, a cogent argument for HOR theories of awareness consciousness is unlikely to be simple.
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Explaining Behavior: Reasons in a World of Causes.Fred Dretske - 1988 - MIT Press.
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