The limits of representationalism: A phenomenological critique of Thomas Metzinger's self-model theory

Synthesis Philosophica (40):355-371 (2005)
Thomas Metzinger’s self-model theory offers a frame¬work for naturalizing subjective experiences, e.g. first-person perspective. These phenomena are explained by referring to representational contents which are said to be interrelated at diverse levels of consciousness and correlated with brain activities. The paper begins with a consideration on naturalism and anti-naturalism in order to roughly sketch the background of Metzinger’s claim that his theory renders philosophical speculations on the mind unnecessary . In particular, Husserl’s phenomenological conception of consciousness is refuted as uncritical and inadequate. It will be demonstrated that this critique is misguided. . The main deficiencies of Metzinger’s theory will be elucidated by referring to the conception of phenomenal transparency which will be compared to a phenomenological idea of transparency . Then we shall enlarge our critical horizon by focusing on some implications of representationalism, including reification of consciousness, brain-Cartesianism, and exclusion of the social dimension . Finally, we shall take up our meta-theoretical reflections on the naturalism debate
Keywords Metaphysics  Model  Phenomenology  Representationalism  Self  Metzinger, Thomas
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