The Structure of Self-Consciousness: A Phenomenological and Philosophical Investigation

Dissertation, The University of Iowa (2003)

Kenneth Williford
University of Texas at Arlington
In this dissertation, the author articulates and defends a version of the historically important view that all consciousness involves self-consciousness. In Chapter 1, the author defends a certain conception of the role of phenomenology in the theory of consciousness. The author argues that any theory of consciousness must account for the properties that phenomenology reveals consciousness to have. The most important properties in this regard are structural: temporality, synchronic unity, and self-referentiality. It is argued that these properties can be given a rigorous description and that mathematical models of the structure of consciousness can be developed. ;In Chapter 2, the author argues that there are no phenomenological data that preclude a theory that identifies consciousness with a brain process. By carefully attending to what consciousness can and cannot reveal about itself in introspection, the author argues, one can see clearly that phenomenology can play its necessary role in the theory of consciousness without at the same time undermining physicalism. ;In Chapter 3, the author discusses the structural phenomenological data. The discussion is informed by the classic work of William James as well as the work of the Phenomenological philosophers, Edmund Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Aron Gurwitsch. ;In Chapter 4, the author examines various versions of the view that all consciousness involves self-consciousness. The author argues that any adequate theory of the type must maintain that states or phases of consciousness must be genuinely self-referential. The author then goes on to present a model of the self-referential structure of consciousness using some tools from contemporary Set Theory. ;In Chapter 5, the author replies to certain important objections to the self-referentialist theory of consciousness. ;In Chapter 6, the author examines some connections the theory defended bears to the mathematico-computational theory of consciousness suggested by Douglas Hofstadter and to the outstanding neurobiological theories of consciousness presented by Antonio Damasio and Gerald Edelman. ;In Chapter 7, the author argues that the supposition that consciousness is the embodiment of a certain self-referential structure implies elegant solutions to some outstanding problems in the philosophy of mind
Keywords *Consciousness States  *Introspection  *Self Perception  Phenomenology
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The Same-Order Monitoring Theory of Consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2006 - In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press. pp. 143--170.

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