Philosophical Studies 176 (1):1-20 (2019)
AbstractWe can divide philosophical theories of consciousness into two main camps: First-Order theories and Higher-Order theories. Like all Higher-Order theories, many First-Order theories are mentalistic theories of consciousness: they attempt to reduce a mental state’s being consciousness using mental (but non-phenomenal) terms, such as being available to certain cognitive centers. I argue that mentalistic First-Order theories, once fully cashed out, collapse into some form of Higher-Order theory. I contend that not only is there general considerations in favor of this conclusion, but that the four most prominent mentalistic ‘First-Order’ theories are, in fact, Higher-Order theories in disguise. Given a strong assumption in favor of some form of mental ism, if this is right, what emerges is a powerful argument for the Higher-Order theory of consciousness.
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