Locating Consciousness: Why Experience Can't Be Objectified

Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (11-12):60-85 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The world appears to conscious creatures in terms of experienced sensory qualities, but science doesn't find sensory experience in that world, only physical objects and properties. I argue that the failure to locate consciousness in the world is a function of our necessarily representational relation to reality as knowers: we won't discover the terms in which reality is represented by us in the world as it appears in those terms. Qualia -- arguably a type of representational content -- will therefore not be found in the physical world as characterized in experience or science. Instead, consciousness constitutes a subjective, representational reality for cognitive systems such as ourselves, and the physical world is a represented objective reality. I suggest that naturalistic approaches to explaining consciousness should acknowledge the non-objectivity of experience, and be constrained by evidence that consciousness accompanies certain sorts of behaviour-controlling representational functions carried out by complex, physically instantiated mind-systems. I evaluate a variety of current hypotheses about consciousness, and suggest that a mature science of representation may help explain why, perhaps as matter of representational necessity, experience arises as a natural but not objectively discoverable phenomenon.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 84,361

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The burning house.Michael Tye - 1995 - In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic & Paderborn. pp. 81--90.
The unity of consciousness: subjects and objectivity.Elizabeth Schechter - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):671-692.
Valerie Hardcastle, Locating Consciousness. [REVIEW]A. Palma - 1997 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (3):277-278.
Consciousness without awareness?Eric Saidel - 1999 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 5.
Experience, Self, and Individual Consciousness.A. H. Almaas - 2016 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (1-2):14-31.
Are There Degreess of Self-Consciousness?R. Milliere - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (3-4):252-282.
Experience, meta-consciousness, and the paradox of introspection.Jonathan W. Schooler - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):17-39.
Placing Qualia in the Head Review of Locating Consciousness by Valerie Gray Hardcastle. [REVIEW]Derek Browne - 1997 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 3.
Brain, symbol & experience: toward a neurophenomenology of human consciousness.Charles D. Laughlin - 1990 - Boston, Mass.: New Science Library. Edited by John McManus & Eugene G. D'Aquili.
Two dogmas of consciousness.Mark Rowlands - 2002 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (5-6):158-80.
Emotional introspection.William E. Seager - 2002 - Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):666-687.


Added to PP

52 (#248,843)

6 months
2 (#334,725)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Todd Clark
San Diego State University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references