How Specific Can You Get?: Troubles for Cognitive Phenomenology

Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):163-172 (2013)
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Abstract

Several philosophers have recently advanced the claim that the content of mental states has its own non-imagistic phenomenology. I show that if defenders of cognitive phenomenology are to account for the conscious experience of thoughts, they must actually commit themselves to two different kinds of cognitive phenomenology, which I refer to as ‘general’ and ‘specific.’ Once this distinction is made, we can see how arguments from experience for cognitive phenomenology depend on an ambiguity in ‘what it is like’ talk for their success. Disambiguating this kind of talk into talk of either general or specific phenomenology shows that these arguments are either valid – but assume what they are trying to prove – or are not valid.

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David Miguel Gray
University of Memphis

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