Mental Strength: A Theory of Experience Intensity

Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):1-21 (2023)
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Abstract

Our pains can be more or less intense, our mental imagery can be more or less vivid, our perceptual experiences can be more or less striking. These degrees of intensity of conscious experiences are all manifestations of a phenomenal property I call mental strength. In this article, I argue that mental strength is a domain-general phenomenal magnitude; in other words, it is a phenomenal quantity shared by all conscious experiences that explains their degree of felt intensity. Mental strength has been largely overlooked in favor of mental states’ type, representational contents, domain-specific phenomenology, or processes such as attention. Considering mental strength in our reflections about the mind illuminates debates about the relation of representational contents and phenomenal character, and it also helps address questions about the structure and functions of consciousness. Mental strength provides a unifying construct to model what is shared in the phenomenology of different types of conscious experiences.

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Jorge Morales
Northeastern University

Citations of this work

Introspection Is Signal Detection.Jorge Morales - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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Consciousness, Color, and Content.Michael Tye - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
The intrinsic quality of experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.

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