Introspecting phenomenal states

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):305-28 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper defends a novel account of how we introspect phenomenal states, the Demonstrative Attention account (DA). First, I present a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for phenomenal state introspection which are not psychological, but purely metaphysical and semantic. Next, to explain how these conditions can be satisfied, I describe how demonstrative reference to a phenomenal content can be achieved through attention alone. This sort of introspective demonstration differs from perceptual demonstration in being non-causal. DA nicely explains key intuitions about phenomenal self-knowledge, makes possible an appealing diagnosis of blindsight cases, and yields a highly plausible view as to the extent of our first-person epistemic privilege. Because these virtues stem from construing phenomenal properties as non-relational features of states, my defense of DA constitutes a challenge to relational construals of phenomenal properties, including functionalism and representationalism. And I provide reason to doubt that they can meet this challenge

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Brie Gertler
University of Virginia

Citations of this work

The content and epistemology of phenomenal belief.David Chalmers - 2003 - In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 220--72.
The Epistemic Role of Consciousness.Declan Smithies - 2019 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality.Angela A. Mendelovici - 2018 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Memory: A Philosophical Study.Sven Bernecker - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.

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