A Euthyphro Dilemma for Higher-order Theories of Consciousness

In Gabriel Rabin (ed.), Grounding and Consciousness (forthcoming)


Abstract: According to a higher-order theory of consciousness, you are in a conscious (psychological) state if and only if you are conscious of being in that state. This paper develops and discusses a Euthyphro dilemma for theories of this sort; that is, a dilemma which asks whether the state is conscious because you are conscious of being in it, or, alternatively, whether you are conscious of being in it because it is conscious. I focus on two different versions of the higher-order theory: the higher-order thought theory, defended by David Rosenthal, Hakwan Lau and Richard Brown, among others, and the higher-order acquaintance theory, defended by Brie Gertler, Martine Nida-RĂ¼melin and David Chalmers, among others. I argue that both versions of the view face a Euthyphro dilemma though the issue takes a different form in each case.

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