In Defense of the What-It-Is-Likeness of Experience

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):271-293 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is common parlance among philosophers who inquire into the nature of consciousness to speak of there being something it is like for the subject of a mental state to be in it. The popularity of the ‘what-it-is-like’ phrase stems, in part, from the assumption that it enables us to distinguish, in an intuitive and illuminating way, between conscious and unconscious mental states: conscious mental states, unlike unconscious mental states, are such that there is something it is like for their subjects to be in them. The ‘what-it-is-like’ phrase, however, has not gone unopposed; some very clever philosophers have vigorously disputed it. Peter Hacker, for example, has argued that the phrase should be abandoned because it is ungrammatical, and Paul Snowdon has argued that it should be abandoned because the propositions expressed by its usage are either trivial or false. This paper mounts a case for the claim that neither of these conclusions is warranted. Against Hacker, it is argued that the arguments he produces for the ungrammaticality of the phrase are unpersuasive, and against Snowdon it is argued that he fails to consider a plausible and independently motivated interpretation of the phrase, and that, on this interpretation, the propositions expressed by its usage are non-trivially true

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

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

A Critique of Dretske’s Conception of State Consciousness.A. Minh Nguyen - 2001 - Journal of Philosophical Research 26 (January):187-206.
Epistemic consciousness.C. N. - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):425-441.
Epistemic consciousness.Neil Manson - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):425-441.
Consciousness as sensory quality and as implicit self-awareness.Uriah Kriegel - 2003 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (1):1-26.
Is the mind conscious, functional, or both?Max Velmans - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):629-630.
The experience machine and mental state theories of well-being.Jason Kawall - 1999 - Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (3):381-387.
Folk Psychology and Phenomenal Consciousness.Justin Sytsma - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):700-711.
Two concepts of consciousness.David M. Rosenthal - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 49 (May):329-59.
The myth of the hidden.William E. S. McNeill - 2009 - Dissertation, University College London

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-05-14

Downloads
179 (#110,527)

6 months
11 (#245,876)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Greg Janzen
University of Calgary

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity: Lectures Given to the Princeton University Philosophy Colloquium.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.

View all 78 references / Add more references