An adverbial theory of consciousness

Alan Thomas
University of York
This paper develops an adverbial theory of consciousness. Adverbialism is described and endorsed and defended from its near rival, an identity thesis in which conscious mental states are those that the mental subject self-knows immediately that he or she is "in". The paper develops an account of globally supported self-ascription to embed this neo-Brentanian view of experiencing consciously within a more general account of the relation between consciousness and self-knowledge. Following O'Shaughnessy, person level consciousness is explained as a feature of the bundle of mental capacities characteristic of persons: person level consciousness involves a capacity holism. Drawing on Kant, it is argued that if a person is in a mental state intentionally directed to an object then such a subject can "self token" such knowledge. The content of that self-knoweldge supervenes on the possession of a global set of capacities, and this capacity for self-ascription depends on the fact that our experience has a perspectival character with, as it were, nothing at the vanishing point of this perspective. The fact that one can attach the cogito to any one of one's representation shows a truth about the unity of the conscious life of a person that cannot be stated and this capacity is distinguished from self-conscious thinking about oneself. This approach is contrasted to Shoemaker's functionalist treatment of the self-tokening of conscious states and of "self-blindness". It is argued that to be fully consistent, Shoemaker has to abandon the claim that introspectionism is guilty of a self-scanning model or rational control as he seems committed to that model too
Keywords Awareness  Consciousness  Identity  Metaphysics  Brentano  Kant  Nagel, T
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:PHEN.0000004923.54269.f4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,928
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Brentano's Dual‐Framing Theory of Consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):79-98.
Self-Representationalism and Phenomenology.Uriah Kriegel - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):357-381.
Reasonable Partiality and the Agent’s Point of View.Alan Thomas - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):25-43.
Two Senses for 'Givenness of Consciousness'.Pessi Lyyra - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):67-87.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant on Animal Consciousness.Colin McLear - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11.
The Authority of Self-Consciousness.Richard A. Moran - 1999 - Philosophical Topics 26 (1/2):174-200.
Self-Awareness and the Mind-Brain Problem.Gilberto Gomes - 1995 - Philosophical Psychology 8 (2):155-65.
Self-Knowledge and Consciousness.Keith Hossack - 2002 - Proceedings of Aristotelian Society 102 (2):168-181.
Kant, McDowell and the Theory of Consciousness.Alan Thomas - 1997 - European Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):283-305.
Phenomenal Character as Implicit Self-Awareness.Greg Janzen - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (12):44-73.
Adverbial Theories of Consciousness.Panayot K. Butchvarov - 1980 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (3):261-80.


Added to PP index

Total views
193 ( #32,375 of 2,319,058 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #326,419 of 2,319,058 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature