The Semantics of ‘What it’s like’ and the Nature of Consciousness

Mind 125 (500):1161-1198 (2016)

Daniel Stoljar
Australian National University
This paper defends a novel view of ‘what it is like’-sentences, according to which they attribute certain sorts of relations—I call them ‘affective relations’—that hold between events and individuals. The paper argues in detail for the superiority of this proposal over other views that are prevalent in the literature. The paper further argues that the proposal makes better sense than the alternatives of the widespread use of Nagel’s definition of conscious states and that it also shows the mistakes in two prominent suggestions about the definition when properly understood: first, that it is empty and uninformative, and second, that it leads directly to a substantial claim in the theory of consciousness, namely that an individual is in a conscious state only if the individual is aware of their being in that state.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzv179
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References found in this work BETA

Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press, Usa.
What is It Like to Be a Bat.Thomas Nagel - 1974 - E-Journal Philosophie der Psychologie 5.
Context and Logical Form.Jason Stanley - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (4):391--434.
Consciousness and Experience.William Lycan - 1996 - Mind 107 (427):676-679.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Acquaintance Teaches.Alex Grzankowski & Michael Tye - forthcoming - In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Intellectualism and Testimony.Yuri Cath - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):1-9.
Knowing What It is Like and Testimony.Yuri Cath - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):105-120.
‘What It is Like’ Talk is Not Technical Talk.Jonathan Farrell - 2016 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (9-10):50-65.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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