Deflating consciousness: A critical review of Fred Dretske's naturalizing the mind

Philosophical Psychology 10 (4):541-550 (1997)
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Fred Dretske asserts that the conscious or phenomenal experiences associated with our perceptual states—e.g. the qualitative or subjective features involved in visual or auditory states—are identical to properties that things have according to our representations of them. This is Dretske's version of the currently popular representational theory of consciousness . After explicating the core of Dretske's representational thesis, I offer two criticisms. I suggest that Dretske's view fails to apply to a broad range of mental phenomena that have rather distinctive subjective or qualitative features. I also suggest that Dretske's view, in identifying conscious experiences with features of our perceptual states, casts its aim too low. It deflates further than it should and, in consequence, fails to capture what are arguably some of the most important phenomena associated with our conscious lives



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Paul Davies
College of William and Mary

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References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
A Materialist Theory of the Mind.D. M. Armstrong - 1968 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Ted Honderich.
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Is property dualism better off than substance dualism?William G. Lycan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):533-542.

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