Phenomenal consciousness, representational content and cognitive access: a missing link between two debates

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1021-1035 (2015)
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Abstract

Two debates loom large in current discussions on phenomenal consciousness. One debate concerns the relation between phenomenal character and representational content. Representationalism affirms, whereas “content separatism” denies, that phenomenal character is exhausted by representational content. Another debate concerns the relation between phenomenal consciousness and cognitive access. “Access separatism” affirms, whereas, e.g., the global workspace model denies, that there are phenomenally conscious states that are not cognitively accessed. I will argue that the two separatist views are related. Access separatism supports content separatism by undermining the most prominent sort of arguments in favor of representationalism, namely ones that appeal to the phenomenology of perceptual experiences

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