An Acquaintance alternative to Self-Representationalism

Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3831-3863 (2022)
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Abstract

The primary goal of this paper is to provide substantial motivation for exploring an Acquaintance account of phenomenal consciousness, on which what fundamentally explains phenomenal consciousness is the relation of acquaintance. Its secondary goal is to take a few steps towards such an account. Roughly, my argument proceeds as follows. Motivated by prioritizing naturalization, the debate about the nature of phenomenal consciousness has been almost monopolized by representational theories. Among them, Self-Representationalism is by far the most antecedently promising. However, on thorough inspection, Self-Representationalism turns out not explanatorily or theoretically better than the Acquaintance account. Indeed, the latter seems to be superior in at least some important respects. Therefore, at the very least, there are good reasons to take the Acquaintance account into serious consideration as an alternative to representational theories. The positive contribution of this paper is a sketch of an account of consciousness on which phenomenal consciousness is explained partly in representationalist terms, but where a crucial role is played by the relation of acquaintance.

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Anna Giustina
University of Liège

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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.
On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.

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