In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

Tom McClelland
Cambridge University
To understand Self-Representationalism you need to understand its family. Self-Representationalism is a branch of the Meta-Representationalist family, and according to theories in this family what distinguishes conscious mental representations from unconscious mental representations is that conscious ones are themselves the target of a mental meta¬-representational state. A mental state M1 is thus phenomenally conscious in virtue of being suitably represented by some mental state M2. What distinguishes the Self-Representationalist branch of the family is the claim that M1 and M2 must be the same token mental state, so a mental state is phenomenally conscious in virtue of suitably representing itself. This Self-Representationalist branch of the family divides into further branches, giving us specific implementations of the Self-Representationalist approach. But before asking whether we should adopt Self-Representationalism, and in what form, we should reflect on why Meta-Representationalism is an attractive family in the first place. After all, Self-Representationalist theories trade on their family name, claiming to deliver on the promises that drive the Meta-Representationalist approach. The two most important promises of Meta-Representationalism are: a) the promise of capturing the transitivity of consciousness and; b) the promise of rendering consciousness naturalisable. I discuss each in turn.
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