The Role of the Will in Chatton’s and Ockham’s Theories of Consciousness

Vivarium 60 (4):273-295 (2022)
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According to Ockham and Chatton, every cognitive process through which one genuinely cognizes a mental state involves a reflexive act of the will. They think that such an act is necessary to explain why we do not genuinely cognize every present mental act. With respect to a present extra-mental thing, an act of the will can only be elicited once such thing has been intuitively apprehended, because according to both authors one cannot voluntarily desire something whose existence one does not know. However, with respect to mental acts, Ockham and Chatton maintain the opposite: an act of the will precedes the simple apprehension of a straight or direct act. As a consequence, in both theories of consciousness the same problem arises: how can the will want something that it does not know? This article presents Chatton’s and Ockham’s responses to this question.



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