Awareness, mental phenomena, and consciousness: A synthesis of Dennett and Rosenthal

Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6):463-76 (1996)
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Both Dennett and his critics believe that the invalidity of the famed Stalinist-Orwellian distinction is a consequence of his multiple drafts model of consciousness . This is not so obvious, however, once we recognize that the question ‘how do you get experience out of meat?’ actually fragments into at least three different questions. How do we get: a unified sense of self, awareness and mental phenomena? In the latter chapters of Consciousness Explained, Dennett shows how MDM has a radical and profound way of interrelating awareness and self . But the Stalinist-Orwellian distinction can be dissolved by analysing the nature of mental phenomena, without making any reference to awareness or self or the MDM. This is because The Stalinist-Orwellian distinction rests on much the same category mistake which Ryle pointed out in his Concept of Mind. Once we recognize that a theory of awareness is trying to do something different from a theory of mental phenomena, we can see why Dennett and his critics frequently talked past each other, and how we can resolve these controversies by incorporating something like Rosenthal's theory of higher order thoughts into the MDM. This would require, however, that Dennett abandon his principle of first person operationalism, and recognize that it is possible for us to be mistaken about our own internal states



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Teed Rockwell
Sonoma State University

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Higher Order Thought and the Problem of Radical Confabulation.Timothy Lane & Caleb Liang - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):69-98.

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