A Heterodox Defense of the Actualist Higher-Order Thought Theory

Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1715-1737 (2022)
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I defend the actualist higher-order thought theory against four objections. The first objection contends that the theory is circular. The second one contends that the theory is unable to account for the alleged epistemic position we are in with respect to our own conscious mental states. The third one contends that the theory is unable to account for the evidence we have for the proposition that all conscious mental states are represented. The fourth one contends that the theory does not accommodate the intimacy we have with our own conscious mental states. To some extent, my defense will be heterodox, in the sense that I will show that some objections are satisfactorily answerable even if we concede to the objectors a point that higher-order theorists do not seem to be willing to concede, that is, that the theory is the result of conceptual analysis.

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