One of Brian Loar’s most central contributions to contemporary philosophy of mind is the notion of phenomenal intentionality: a kind of intentional directedness fully grounded in phenomenal character. Proponents of phenomenal intentionality typically also endorse the idea of cognitive phenomenology: a sui generis phenomenal character of cognitive states such as thoughts and judgments that grounds these states’ intentional directedness. This combination creates a challenge, though: namely, how to account for the manifest phenomenological difference between perception and cognition. In this paper, (...) I argue that there is in fact no obvious account of this difference. I consider three main approaches: in terms of high-level vs. low-level contents, of conceptual vs. nonconceptual content, and of propositional vs. objectual content. After arguing against each, I conclude by considering the phenomenal-intentionalist’s options moving forward. (shrink)
In the philosophy of mind, the study of mental life has tended to focus on three central aspects of mental states: their representational content, their functional role, and their phenomenal character. The representational content of a mental state is what the state represents, what it is about; its functional role is the role it plays within the functional organization of the subject’s overall psychology; its phenomenal character is the experiential or subjective quality that goes with what it is like, from (...) the inside, to be in it. The study of this third aspect of mental life is known as phenomenology. Thus, moral phenomenology is the study of the experiential dimension of our moral inner life – of the phenomenal character of moral mental states. Many different questions arise within moral phenomenology, but perhaps they can be profitably organized into three types of question. The first concerns the scope of moral experience: How much of our moral mental life is experiential? That is, which moral mental states have a phenomenal character? The second concerns the nature of moral experience: What is it like to undergo the various kinds of moral experience we have? That is, what is the proper phenomenological analysis of each type of moral experience? The third concerns the theoretical effect of moral experience: How might our understanding of moral experience impact central debates in moral philosophy? That is, what are the consequences of phenomenological “results” on larger ethical and metaethical questions? We will now consider each of these types of question. (shrink)
Traditional accounts of the perception/cognition divide tend to draw it in terms of subpersonal psychological processes, processes into which the subject has no first-person insight. Whatever betides such accounts, there seems to also be some first-personally accessible difference between perception and thought. At least in normal circumstances, naïve subjects can typically tell apart their perceptual states from their cognitive or intellectual ones. What are such subjects picking up on when they do so? This paper is an inconclusive search for an (...) answer. At its end, I conclude, without joy, that we may have to simply accept the perception/cognition distinction as a primitive and inexplicable bright line within the sphere of conscious phenomena. (shrink)
Some mental events are conscious, some are unconscious. What is the difference between the two? Uriah Kriegel offers an answer. His aim is a comprehensive theory of the features that all and only conscious mental events have. The key idea is that consciousness arises when self-awareness and world-awareness are integrated in the right way. Conscious mental events differ from unconscious ones in that, whatever else they may represent, they always also represent themselves, and do so in a very specific way. (...) Subjective Consciousness is a fascinating new move forward towards a full understanding of the mind. (shrink)
According to a traditional view, there is no categorical difference between the phenomenology of perception and the phenomenology of imagination; the only difference is in degree (of intensity, resolution, etc.) and/or in accompanying beliefs. There is no categorical difference between what it is like to perceive a dog and what it is like to imagine a dog; the former is simply more vivid and/or is accompanied by the belief that a dog is really there. A sustained argument against this traditional (...) view is prosecuted by Sartre, who develops an alternative according to which there is a categorical difference between the two phenomenologies. This paper draws on Sartre’s work in this area to develop a similar account of perception and imagination as categorically different. (shrink)
What do thoughts, hopes, paintings, words, desires, photographs, traffic signs, and perceptions have in common? They are all about something, are directed, are contentful - in a way chairs and trees, for example, are not. This book inquires into the source of this power of directedness that some items exhibit while others do not. An approach to this issue prevalent in the philosophy of the past half-century seeks to explain the power of directedness in terms of certain items' ability to (...) reliably track things in their environment. A very different approach, with a venerable history and enjoying a recent resurgence, seeks to explain the power of directedness rather in terms of an intrinsic ability of conscious experience to direct itself. This book attempts a synthesis of both approaches, developing an account of the sources of such directedness that grounds it both in reliable tracking and in conscious experience. (shrink)
A widespread assumption in current philosophy of mind is that a conscious state’s phenomenal properties vary with its representational contents. In this paper, I present (rather dogmatically) an alternative picture that recognizes two kinds of phenomenal properties that do not vary concomitantly with content. First, it admits phenomenal properties that vary rather with attitude: what it is like for me to see rain is phenomenally different from what it is like for me to remember (indistinguishable) rain, which is different again (...) form what it is like for me to visualize (indistinguishable) rain – where these differences cannot be traced back to variations in content. Secondly, there is a kind of phenomenal property that varies neither with content nor with attitude but is altogether invariant across all conscious states: a substantive phenomenal commonality among what it is like for me to see, remember, and visualize rain, cats, or dogs. This substantive commonality, I will suggest, is the for-me-ness component of what it is like for me to have any of these experiences. I will close by discussing the interrelations among these three concentric layers of phenomenality: content-based, attitude-based, and for-me-ness. (shrink)
The ontological theory of the later Franz Brentano is often referred to as ‘reism.’ But what exactly is reism, and how is it related to modern-day nominalism? In this paper, I offer an interpretation of Brentano’s reism as a specific variety of nominalism. This variety, although motivated by distinctly modern concerns about truthmakers, adopts a strategy for providing such truthmakers that is completely foreign to modern nominalism. The strategy rests on proliferation of coincident concrete particulars. For example, ‘Socrates is wise’ (...) and ‘Socrates is Greek’ are made true, respectively, by wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates, where wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates are two coinciding but numerically distinct concrete particulars (which also coincide with Socrates). (shrink)
Brentano's theory of consciousness has garnered a surprising amount of attention in recent philosophy of mind. Here I argue for a novel interpretation of Brentano's theory that casts it as more original than previously appreciated and yet quite plausible upon inspection. According to Brentano's theory, as interpreted here, a conscious experience of a tree is a mental state that can be simultaneously thought of, or framed, equally accurately as an awareness of a tree or an awareness of an awareness of (...) a tree. (shrink)
There are several differences between (i) seeing rain outside one’s window and (ii) episodically remembering seeing rain outside one’s window. One difference appears to pertain to felt temporal orientation: in episodically remembering seeing the rain, we experience the rain, and/or the seeing of it, as (having occurred in the) past; in perceiving the rain, we experience the rain as (in the) present. However, according to (what is widely regarded as) the most plausible metaphysics of time, there are no such properties (...) as being past and being present. This seems to lead to an error theory about all perception and episodic memory. In this paper, I show how to get out of this untoward result. The crucial move is a distinction between representing an event-as-present/past and representing-as-present/past an event. (shrink)
The word ?consciousness? is notoriously ambiguous. This is mainly because it is not a term of art, but a mundane word we all use quite frequently, for different purposes and in different everyday contexts. In this paper, I discuss consciousness in one specific sense of the word. To avoid the ambiguities, I introduce a term of art ? intransitive self-consciousness ? and suggest that this form of self-consciousness is an essential component of the folk notion of consciousness. I then argue (...) for a specific account of consciousness as intransitive self-consciousness. According to this account, a mental state is conscious iff it represents its own occurrence. The argument is a ?modernizing? modification of an older argument due to Aristotle and Brentano. (shrink)
It has often been thought that our knowledge of ourselves is _different_ from, perhaps in some sense _better_ than, our knowledge of things other than ourselves. Indeed, there is a thriving research area in epistemology dedicated to seeking an account of self-knowledge that would articulate and explain its difference from, and superiority over, other knowledge. Such an account would thus illuminate the descriptive and normative difference between self-knowledge and other knowledge.<sup>1</sup> At the same time, self- knowledge has also encountered its (...) share of skeptics – philosophers who refuse to accord it any descriptive, let alone normative, distinction. In this paper, we argue that there is at least one _species_ of self-knowledge that is different from, and better than, other knowledge. It is a specific kind of knowledge of one’s concurrent phenomenal experiences. Call knowledge of one’s own phenomenal experiences _phenomenal knowledge_. Our claim is that some (though not all) phenomenal knowledge is different from, and better than, non-phenomenal knowledge. In other. (shrink)
The alleged for-me-ness or mineness of conscious experience has been the topic of considerable debate in recent phenomenology and philosophy of mind. By considering a series of objections to the notion of for-me-ness, or to a properly robust construal of it, this paper attempts to clarify to what the notion is committed and to what it is not committed. This exercise results in the emergence of a relatively determinate and textured portrayal of for-me-ness as the authors conceive of it.
Phenomenal intentionality is supposed to be a kind of directedness of the mind onto the world that is grounded in the conscious feel of mental life. This book of new essays explores a number of issues raised by the notion of phenomenal intentionality.
We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
According to cognitivism about emotion, emotions are reducible to some non-emotional states. In one version, they are reducible entirely to cognitive states, such as beliefs or judgments; in another, they are reducible to combinations of cognitive and conative states, such as desire or intention. Cognitivism is plausibly regarded as the orthodoxy in the philosophy of emotion since the 1980s. In a recent paper, however, Montague develops a powerful argument against cognitivism. Here I argue that the argument nonetheless fails.
The notion of intentionality is what Franz Brentano is best known for. But disagreements and misunderstandings still surround his account of its nature. In this paper, I argue that Brentano’s mature account of the nature of intentionality construes it, not as a two-place relation between a subject and an object, nor as a three-place relation between a subject’s act, its object, and a ‘content,’ but as an altogether non-relational, intrinsic property of subjects. I will argue that the view is more (...) defensible than might initially appear. (shrink)
What is the aim of philosophy? There may be too many philosophical branches, traditions, practices, and programs to admit of a single overarching aim. Here I focus on a fairly traditional philosophical project that has recently received increasingly sophisticated articulation, especially by Frank Jackson (1998) and David Chalmers (2012). In §1, I present the project and suggest that it is usefully thought of as ‘total axiomatics’: the project of attempting to axiomatize the total theory of the world. In §2, I (...) raise a problem for the project that I call the ‘problem of multiple axiomatizations.’ I consider some initially alluring but ultimately unpromising approaches to this problem in §3. In §4, I defend a surprising approach to the problem, according to which competing axiomatizations of the total theory of the world are effectively evaluated for their aesthetic virtues. (shrink)
It is often assumed thatconsciousness and intentionality are twomutually independent aspects of mental life.When the assumption is denounced, it usuallygives way to the claim that consciousness issomehow dependent upon intentionality. Thepossibility that intentionality may bedependent upon consciousness is rarelyentertained. Recently, however, John Searle andColin McGinn have argued for just suchdependence. In this paper, I reconstruct andevaluate their argumentation. I am in sympathyboth with their view and with the lines ofargument they employ in its defense. UnlikeSearle and McGinn, however, I am (...) quite attachedto a naturalist approach to intentionality. Itwill turn out to be somewhat difficult toreconcile naturalism with the notion thatintentionality is dependent upon consciousness,although, perhaps surprisingly, I will arguethat McGinn's case for such dependence iscompatible with naturalism. (shrink)
What is the rationale for the methodological innovations of experimental philosophy? This paper starts from the contention that common answers to this question are implausible. It then develops a framework within which experimental philosophy fulfills a specific function in an otherwise traditionalist picture of philosophical inquiry. The framework rests on two principal ideas. The first is Frank Jackson’s claim that conceptual analysis is unavoidable in ‘serious metaphysics’. The second is that the psychological structure of concepts is extremely intricate, much more (...) so than early practitioners of conceptual analysis had realized. This intricacy has implications for the activity of analyzing concepts: while the central, coarser, more prominent contours of a concept may be identified from the armchair, the finer details of the concept’s structure require experimental methods to detect. (shrink)
Phenomenal beliefs are beliefs about the phenomenal properties of one's concurrent conscious states. It is an article of common sense that such beliefs tend to be justified. Philosophers have been less convinced. It is sometimes claimed that phenomenal beliefs are not on the whole justified, on the grounds that they are typically based on introspection and introspection is often unreliable. Here we argue that such reasoning must guard against a potential conflation between two distinct introspective phenomena, which we call fact-introspection (...) and thing -introspection; arguments for the unreliability of introspection typically target only the former, leaving the reliability of the latter untouched. In addition, we propose a theoretical framework for understanding thing -introspection that may have a surprising consequence: thing -introspection is not only reliable, but outright infallible. This points at a potential line of defense of phenomenal-belief justification, which here we only sketch very roughly. (shrink)
According to what we will call subjectivity theories of consciousness, there is a constitutive connection between phenomenal consciousness and subjectivity: there is something it is like for a subject to have mental state M only if M is characterized by a certain mine-ness or for-me-ness. Such theories appear to face certain psychopathological counterexamples: patients appear to report conscious experiences that lack this subjective element. A subsidiary goal of this chapter is to articulate with greater precision both subjectivity theories and the (...) psychopathological challenge they face. The chapter’s central goal is to present two new approaches to defending subjectivity theories in the face of this challenge. What distinguishes these two approaches is that they go to great lengths to interpret patients’ reports at face value – greater length, at any rate, than more widespread approaches in the extant literature. (shrink)
According to the old feeling theory of emotion, an emotion is just a feeling: a conscious experience with a characteristic phenomenal character. This theory is widely dismissed in contemporary discussions of emotion as hopelessly naïve. In particular, it is thought to suffer from two fatal drawbacks: its inability to account for the cognitive dimension of emotion (which is thought to go beyond the phenomenal dimension), and its inability to accommodate unconscious emotions (which, of course, lack any phenomenal character). In this (...) paper, I argue that the old feeling theory is in reality only a pair of modifications removed from a highly plausible account of the nature of emotion that retains the essential connection between emotion and feeling. These modifications are, moreover, motivated by recent developments in work on phenomenal consciousness. The first development is the rising recognition of a phenomenal character proper to cognition—so-called cognitive phenomenology. The second is the gathering momentum behind various ‘connection principles’ that specify some connection that a given state must bear to phenomenally conscious states in order to qualify as mental. These developments make it possible to formulate a new feeling theory of emotion, which would overcome the two fatal drawbacks of the old feeling theory. According to the new feeling theory, an emotion is a mental state that bears the right connection to conscious experiences with the right phenomenal character (involving, among other elements, a cognitive phenomenology). (shrink)
What is dignity? My starting point is that dignity is one of those philosophical primitives that admit of no informative analysis. Nonetheless, I suggest, dignity might yield to indirect illumination when we consider the kind of experience we have (or rather find it fitting to have) in its presence. This experience, I claim, is what is sometimes known as recognition-respect. Through an examination of a neglected aspect of the phenomenology of recognition-respect, I argue that the possession of inner consciousness is (...) a precondition for the possession of dignity. The reason for this, I suggest, is that the ultimate privacy of the contents of our consciousness grounds a kind of inviolability characteristic of dignity. (shrink)
. When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": the bluish aspect and the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitative character and the for-me aspect its subjective character . What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character , of conscious experience? In this paper, I (...) examine six different attempts to account for subjective character in terms of the functional and representational properties of conscious experiences. After arguing against the first five, I defend the sixth. (shrink)
In contemporary analytic philosophy of mind, Franz Brentano is known mostly for his thesis that intentionality is ‘the mark of the mental.’ Among Brentano scholars, there are also lively debates on his theory of consciousness and his theory of judgment. Brentano’s theory of will and emotion is less widely discussed, even within the circles of Brentano scholarship. In this paper, I want to show that this is a missed opportunity, certainly for Brentano scholars but also for contemporary philosophy of mind. (...) Brentano’s accounts of the will and of emotion are, I will argue, both insightful, creative, and surprising, on the one hand, and strikingly plausible, upon reflection, on the other. (shrink)
The centerpiece of the scientific study of consciousness is the search for the neural correlates of consciousness. Yet science is typically interested not only in discovering correlations, but also – and more deeply – in explaining them. When faced with a correlation between two phenomena in nature, we typically want to know why they correlate. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. The first half attempts to lay out the various possible explanations of the correlation between consciousness and its neural (...) correlate – to provide a sort of “menu” of options from which we probably would ultimately have to choose. The second half raises considerations suggesting that, under certain reasonable assumptions, the choice among these various options may be in principle underdetermined by the relevant scientific evidence. (shrink)
A prominent view of phenomenal consciousness combines two claims: (i) the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states can be fully accounted for in terms of these states’ representational content; (ii) this representational content can be fully accounted for in non-phenomenal terms. This paper presents an argument against this view. The core idea is that the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states are not fixed entirely by what these states represent (their representational contents), but depend in part on how they represent (...) (their representational attitudes or modes). The argument highlights the myriad liabilities and difficulties one must accrue when one tries to appeal only to what phenomenally conscious states represent in accounting for their phenomenal individuation. (shrink)
Perhaps the philosophical thesis most commonly associated with Brentano is that intentionality is the mark of the mental. But in fact Brentano often and centrally uses also what he calls ‘inner perception’ to demarcate the mental. In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Brentano’s conception of the interrelations between mentality, intentionality, and inner perception. According to this interpretation, Brentano took the concept of mind to be a natural-kind concept, with intentionality constituting the underlying nature of the mental and (...) inner-perceivability serving as the concept’s reference-fixer. (shrink)
In Chapter 3 of Book I of Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, Brentano articulates what he takes to be the four most basic and central tasks of psychology. One of them is to discover the ‘fundamental classification’ of mental phenomena. Brentano attends to this task in Chapters 5-9 of Book II of the Psychology, reprinted (with appendices) in 1911 as a standalone book (Brentano 1911a). The classification is further developed in an essay entitled “A Survey of So-Called Sensory and Noetic (...) Objects of Inner Perception,” published posthumously in Brentano 1928/1981b, as well as a 1907 dictation entitled “Loving and Hating,” reprinted in Brentano 1969. (shrink)
We argue that the letter of the Extended Mind hypothesis can be accommodated by a strongly internalist, broadly Cartesian conception of mind. The argument turns centrally on an unusual but highly plausible view on the mark of the mental.
One of the newest research areas in moral philosophy is moral phenomenology: the dedicated study of the experiential dimension of moral mental life. The idea has been to bring phenomenological evidence to bear on some central issues in metaethics and moral psychology, such as cognitivism and noncognitivism about moral judgment, motivational internalism and externalism, and so on. However, moral phenomenology faces certain foundational challenges, pertaining especially to the existence, describability, and importance of its subject matter. This paper addresses these foundational (...) challenges, arguing that moral experiences – in the phenomenal, what-is-like sense of the term – exist, are informatively describable, and are central for the concerns of moral philosophy at large. (shrink)
Recent discussions of phenomenal consciousness have taken increased interest in the existence and scope of non-sensory types of phenomenology, notably so-called cognitive phenomenology. These discussions have been largely restricted, however, to the question of the existence of such a phenomenology. Little attention has been given to the character of cognitive phenomenology: what in fact is it like to engage in conscious cognitive activity? This paper offers an approach to this question. Focusing on the prototypical cognitive activity of making a judgment (...) that p, it proposes a characterization in terms of a Ramsey sentence comprised of twenty-three phenomenological platitudes about what it is like to make a judgment. (shrink)
Consider the following argument: when a phenomenon P is observable, any legitimate understanding of P must take account of observations of P; some mental phenomena—certain conscious experiences—are introspectively observable; so, any legitimate understanding of the mind must take account of introspective observations of conscious experiences. This paper offers a (preliminary and partial) defense of this line of thought. Much of the paper focuses on a specific challenge to it, which I call Schwitzgebel’s Challenge: the claim that introspection is so untrustworthy (...) that its indispensability for a genuine understanding of the mind only shows that no genuine understanding of the mind is possible. (shrink)
In recent philosophy of mind, it is often assumed that consciousness and self-consciousness are two separate phenomena. In this paper, I argue that this is not quite right. The argument proceeds in two phases. First, I draw a distinction between (i) being self-conscious of a thought that p and (ii) self-consciously thinking that p. I call the former transitive self-consciousness and the latter intransitive self-consciousness. I then argue that consciousness does depend on intransitive self-consciousness, and that the common reasons for (...) denying the dependence of consciousness upon self-consciousness apply only to transitive self-consciousness. (shrink)
My approach to the exposition of Brentano's mereology is to first introduce the basics of Classical Mereology and then point out the respects in which Brentano's mereology deviates from it. There are two such respects: first, Brentano rejects the axiom of supplementation; second, he distinguishes two primitive notions of parthood.
To a first approximation, self-representationalism is the view that a mental state M is phenomenally conscious just in case M represents itself in the appropriate way. Proponents of self-representationalism seem to think that the phenomenology of ordinary conscious experience is on their side, but opponents seem to think the opposite. In this paper, I consider the phenomenological merits and demerits of self-representationalism. I argue that there is phenomenological evidence in favor of self-representationalism, and rather more confidently, that there is no (...) phenomenological evidence against self-representationalism. (shrink)
How come we can represent Bigfoot even though Bigfoot does not exist, given that representing something involves bearing a relation to it and we cannot bear relations to what does not exist?This is the problem of intentional inexistence. This paper develops a two-step solution to this problem, involving an adverbial account of conscious representation, or phenomenal inten- tionality, and the thesis that all representation derives from conscious representation. The solution is correspondingly two-part: we can consciously represent Bigfoot because consciously representing (...) Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather instantiating a certain non-relational property of representing Bigfoot-wise; and we can non-consciously represent Bigfoot because non-consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather bearing a relation to conscious representations of Bigfoot. (shrink)
This paper presents a systematic challenge to the viability of revisionary metaphysics. The challenge is to provide epistemic grounds on which one might justifiably believe that a revisionary-metaphysical theory in some area is more likely to be true than its competitors. I argue that upon close examination, the main candidates for providing such grounds — empirical evidence, intuition, and the theoretical virtues — all turn out to be unsatisfactory.
According to “existence monism,” there is only one concrete particular, the cosmos as a whole (Horgan and Potrč 2000, 2008). According to “priority monism,” there are many concrete particulars, but all are ontologically dependent upon the cosmos as a whole, which accordingly is the only fundamental concrete particular (Schaffer 2010a, 2010b). In essence, the difference between them is that existence monism does not recognize any parts of the cosmos, whereas priority monism does – it just insists that the parts are (...) ontologically dependent upon the whole in this case. Brentano never maintained either of these views. But in the last two years of his life, he seems to have held the following approximation: there is only one physical substance, namely, the material universe as a whole. This is twice removed from existence or priority monism: first, it allows for a plurality of mental substances (souls); secondly, it allows for a plurality of physical accidents, which in Brentano’s reistic ontology are also concrete particulars. Still, the view that the only physical substance is the universe as a whole is quite radical and finds little precedent in the history of philosophy. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
Disputes about what is phenomenologically manifest in conscious experience have a way of leading to deadlocks with remarkable immediacy. Disputants reach the foot-stomping stage of the dialectic more or less right after declaring their discordant views. It is this fact, I believe, that leads some to heterophenomenology and the like attempts to found Consciousness Studies on purely third-person grounds. In this paper, I explore the other possible reaction to this fact, namely, the articulation of methods for addressing phenomenological disputes. I (...) suggest two viable methods, of complementary value, which I call “the method of contrast” and “the method of knowability.”. (shrink)
Propositions such as are paradoxical, in that even though they can be true, they cannot be truly asserted or believed. This is Moore’s paradox. Sydney Shoemaker has recently ar- gued that the paradox arises from a constitutive relation that holds between ﬁrst- and second-order beliefs. This paper explores this approach to the paradox. Although Shoemaker’s own account of the paradox is rejected, a diﬀerent account along similar lines is endorsed. At the core of the endorsed account is the claim that (...) conscious beliefs are always partly about themselves; it will be shown to follow from this that conscious beliefs in Moorean propositions are self-contradictory. (shrink)
Franz Brentano was not a systematic writer, but he was very much a systematic thinker. Through his manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, dictations, and occasional published writings, one can discern a systematic, unified approach to the true, the good, and the beautiful. My goal here is to articulate explicitly this approach, and the philosophical program it reflects. The exercise requires going over big stretches of terrain with some efficiency; I will go just as deep into Brentano’s approaches to the true, the (...) good, and the beautiful as is required to make explicit their structural unity. (shrink)
Contemporary theories of consciousness can be divided along several major faultlines, but one of the most prominent concerns the question of whether they accept the principle that a mental state’s being conscious involves essentially its subject being aware of it. Call this the awareness principle: -/- (Awareness) For any mental state M of a subject S (at a time t), M is conscious (at t) only if S is aware of M (at t). -/- Although analytic philosophers divide sharply on (...) whether to accept the principle, the philosophy-of-mind literature appears to contain mainly arguments against it (e.g., Dretske 1993), rather than for it. One reason is that those who accept the principle often find themselves in a certain dialectical embarrassment: they take the principle to be so self-evident as to allow no cogent argument that would derive it from truths even more obvious than it. In what follows, I want to develop and defend an argument for Awareness. The argument is not new – in fact it is very old – but my specific development and defense of it are. The basic idea, presented originally by the sixth-century Indian philosopher Dignāga, is a combination of two thoughts: (i) all conscious states are states whose subject can remember at least at some later time, and (ii) we can remember only events of which we were aware at the time of their occurrence. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind tends to theorize about the propositional attitudes primarily in terms of belief and desire. But there is a propositional attitude, sometimes called ‘entertaining,’ that seems to resist analysis in terms of belief and desire, and has been thought at other times and places (notably, in late nineteenth-century Austrian philosophy) to be more fundamental than belief and desire. Whether or not we accept the fundamentality of entertaining, it certainly seems to be an attitude ill understood in contemporary (...) philosophy of mind. The purpose of this paper is to make first steps – very first steps – toward a more mature understanding of entertaining. (shrink)
One major problem many hypotheses regarding the neural correlate of consciousness, face is what we might call “the why question”: why would this particular neural feature, rather than another, correlate with consciousness? The purpose of the present paper is to develop an NCC hypothesis that answers this question. The proposed hypothesis is inspired by the cross-order integration theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness arises from the functional integration of a first-order representation of an external stimulus and a second-order representation (...) of that first-order representation. The proposal comes in two steps. The first step concerns the “general shape” of the NCC and can be directly derived from COI theory. The second step is a concrete hypothesis that can be arrived at by combining the general shape with empirical considerations. (shrink)