In Mark Siderits, Ching Keng & John Spackman (eds.), Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness Tradition and Dialogue. Leiden: pp. 121-153 (forthcoming)

Christian Coseru
College of Charleston
If I am aware that p, say, that it is raining, is it the case that I must be aware that I am aware that p? Does introspective or object-awareness entail the apprehension of mental states as being of some kind or another: self-monitoring or intentional? That is, are cognitive events implicitly self-aware or is “self-awareness” just another term for metacognition? Not surprisingly, intuitions on the matter vary widely. This paper proposes a novel solution to this classical debate by reframing the problem of self-knowledge in terms of the relation between phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge. Concepts of consciousness such as “introspective awareness” and “reflexive self-awareness” are grounded in phenomenal experiences rather than physical events and processes. As such they yield a different kind of self-knowledge than what can be gained by applying externalist conceptual schemas to understanding the mind. I argue that Dharmakīrti’s theory of content can be seen as endorsing the efficacy of phenomenal experience as a vehicle for self-knowledge.
Keywords consciousness, self-consciousness, self-knowledge, subjectivity, higher order thought, phenomenal concepts, cognitive phenomenology
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