ProtoSociology 36:340-357 (2019)

Josh Weisberg
University of Houston
It is widely held that consciousness is partially constituted by a “pre-reflective” self-consciousness. Further, it’s argued that the presence of pre-reflective self-consciousness poses a problem for “higher-order” theories of consciousness. Higher-order theories invoke reflective representation and so do not appear to have the resources to explain pre-reflective self-consciousness. This criticism is rooted in the Heidelberg School’s deep reflection on the nature of self-consciousness, and accordingly, I will label this challenge the “Heidelberg problem.” In this chapter, I will offer a higher-order answer to the Heidelberg problem. Instead of attacking the problem head-on, I’ll argue that the view can explain why there appears to be a Heidelberg problem, even if consciousness is ultimately realized by higher-order representation. But I’ll also argue that the theory has indexical resources to more directly counter the Heidelberg problem. Either way, I hope to show that the higher-order theory survives its trip to Heidelberg.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Social Science
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DOI 10.5840/protosociology20193613
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