Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):653-665 (2002)

Authors
David Rosenthal
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
Ned BlockÕs influential distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness has become a staple of current discussions of consciousness. It is not often noted, however, that his distinction tacitly embodies unargued theoretical assumptions that favor some theoretical treatments at the expense of others. This is equally so for his less widely discussed distinction between phenomenal consciousness and what he calls reflexive consciousness. I argue that the distinction between phenomenal and access consciousness, as Block draws it, is untenable. Though mental states that have qualitative character plainly differ from those with no mental qualities, a mental stateÕs being conscious is the same property for both kinds of mental state. For one thing, as Block describes access consciousness, that notion does not pick out any property that we intuitively count as a mental stateÕs being conscious. But the deeper problem is that BlockÕs notion of phenomenal consciousness, or phenomenality, is ambiguous as between two very different mental properties. The failure to distinguish these results in the begging of important theoretical questions. Once the two kinds of phenomenality have been distinguished, the way is clear to explain qualitative consciousness by appeal to a model such as the higher-order-thought hypothesis. Ó 2002 Elsevier Science . All rights reserved
Keywords *Consciousness States  *Theories  Cognitive Processes
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DOI 10.1016/S1053-8100(02)00017-X
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Unconscious Perception: Attention, Awareness, and Control.J. A. Debner & Larry L. Jacoby - 1994 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 20:304-17.

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