The Light & the Room

Abstract

To be conscious—according to a common metaphor—is for the “lights to be on inside.” Is this a good metaphor? I argue that the metaphor elicits useful intuitions while staying neutral on controversial philosophical questions. But I also argue that there are two ways of interpreting the metaphor. Is consciousness the inner light itself? Or is consciousness the illuminated room? Call the first sense subjectivity (where ‘consciousness’ =def what makes an entity feel some way at all), and the second sense phenomenal character (where ‘consciousness’ =def what it feels like to be an entity). I use this distinction—as well as the metaphor of the inner light—to clarify some philosophical questions about whether consciousness comes in degrees, whether consciousness is multidimensional, and whether there are borderline cases of consciousness.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Sartre: una teoría auto-representacional de la conciencia.Esteban Diego Ortiz Medina - 2018 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 11:115-137.
Sartre: A Self-Representational Theory of Consciousness.Esteban Diego Ortiz Medina - 2018 - Journal of Humanities of Valparaiso 11:115-137.
Degrees of Consciousness.Andrew Y. Lee - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):553-575.
Phenomenal consciousness and intentionality.Dana K. Nelkin - 2001 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 7.
Theories of consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):58-64.
Suffering without subjectivity.Peter Carruthers - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 121 (2):99-125.
Consciousness and no self?Sebastian Watzl - 2018 - Ratio 31 (4):363-375.
The Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2010 - Dissertation, Columbia University

Analytics

Added to PP
2023-12-24

Downloads
301 (#68,415)

6 months
301 (#7,157)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Y. Lee
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Subjective Consciousness: A Self-Representational Theory.Uriah Kriegel - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Degrees of Consciousness.Andrew Y. Lee - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):553-575.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - In Josh Weisberg (ed.), Consciousness. Polity.
The Rediscovery of Light.Paul M. Churchland - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (5):211.

Add more references