The Phenomenology of Cognition: Or What Is It Like to Think That P?

Abstract

A number of philosophers endorse, without argument, the view that there’s something it’s like consciously to think that p, which is distinct from what it’s like consciously to think that q. This thesis, if true, would have important consequences for philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In this paper I offer an argument for it, and attempt to induce examples of it in the reader. The argument claims it would be impossible introspectively to distinguish conscious thoughts with respect to their content if there weren’t something it’s like to think them. This argument is defended against several objections. Then I use what I call “minimal pair” experiences—sentences read without and with understanding—to induce in the reader an experience of the kind I claim exists. Further objections are considered and rebutted.

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Author's Profile

David Pitt
California State University, Los Angeles

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.

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Citations of this work

Mental Representation.David Pitt - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Self-Knowledge.Brie Gertler - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Unreliability of Naive Introspection.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2006 - Philosophical Review 117 (2):245-273.
The Phenomenal Intentionality Research Program.Uriah Kriegel - 2013 - In U. Kriegel (ed.), Phenomenal Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.David Bourget - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318.

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