Some mental events are conscious, some are unconscious. What is the difference between the two? Uriah Kriegel offers an answer. His aim is a comprehensive theory of the features that all and only conscious mental events have. The key idea is that consciousness arises when self-awareness and world-awareness are integrated in the right way. Conscious mental events differ from unconscious ones in that, whatever else they may represent, they always also represent themselves, and do so in a very specific way. (...) Subjective Consciousness is a fascinating new move forward towards a full understanding of the mind. (shrink)
Recent work on consciousness has featured a number of debates on the existence and character of controversial types of phenomenal experience. Perhaps the best-known is the debate over the existence of a sui generis, irreducible cognitive phenomenology – a phenomenology proper to thought. Another concerns the existence of a sui generis phenomenology of agency. Such debates bring up a more general question: how many types of sui generis, irreducible, basic, primitive phenomenology do we have to posit to just be able (...) to describe the stream of consciousness? This book offers a first general attempt to answer this question in contemporary philosophy. It develops a unified framework for systematically addressing this question and applies it to six controversial types of phenomenal experience, namely, those associated with thought and judgment, will and agency, pure apprehension, emotion, moral thought and experience, and the experience of freedom. (shrink)
What do thoughts, hopes, paintings, words, desires, photographs, traffic signs, and perceptions have in common? They are all about something, are directed, are contentful - in a way chairs and trees, for example, are not. This book inquires into the source of this power of directedness that some items exhibit while others do not. An approach to this issue prevalent in the philosophy of the past half-century seeks to explain the power of directedness in terms of certain items' ability to (...) reliably track things in their environment. A very different approach, with a venerable history and enjoying a recent resurgence, seeks to explain the power of directedness rather in terms of an intrinsic ability of conscious experience to direct itself. This book attempts a synthesis of both approaches, developing an account of the sources of such directedness that grounds it both in reliable tracking and in conscious experience. (shrink)
We review some of the work already done around the notion of phenomenal intentionality and propose a way of turning this body of work into a self-conscious research program for understanding intentionality.
The alleged for-me-ness or mineness of conscious experience has been the topic of considerable debate in recent phenomenology and philosophy of mind. By considering a series of objections to the notion of for-me-ness, or to a properly robust construal of it, this paper attempts to clarify to what the notion is committed and to what it is not committed. This exercise results in the emergence of a relatively determinate and textured portrayal of for-me-ness as the authors conceive of it.
Phenomenal intentionality is supposed to be a kind of directedness of the mind onto the world that is grounded in the conscious feel of mental life. This book of new essays explores a number of issues raised by the notion of phenomenal intentionality.
Uriah Kriegel presents a rich exploration of the philosophy of the great nineteenth-century thinker Franz Brentano. He locates Brentano at the crossroads where the Anglo-American and continental European philosophical traditions diverged. At the centre of this account of Brentano's philosophy is the connection between mind and reality. Kriegel aims to develop Brentano's central ideas where they are overly programmatic or do not take into account philosophical developments that have taken place since Brentano's death a century ago; and to offer a (...) partial defense of Brentano's system as quite plausible and in any case extraordinarily creative and thought-provoking. Brentano's system grounds a complete metaphysics and value theory in a well-developed philosophy of mind, and accordingly the book is divided into three parts, devoted to Brentano's philosophy of mind, his metaphysics, and his moral philosophy. The book's fundamental ambition is to show how Brentano combines the clarity and precision of the analytic philosopher with the sweeping vision of the continental philosopher. Brentano pays careful attention to important distinctions, conscientiously defines key notions, presents precise arguments for his claims, judiciously considers potential objections, and in general proceeds very methodically - yet he does so not as an end in itself, but as a means only. His end is the crafting of a grand philosophical system in the classical sense, attempting to produce nothing less than a unified theory of the true, the good, and the beautiful. (shrink)
The word ?consciousness? is notoriously ambiguous. This is mainly because it is not a term of art, but a mundane word we all use quite frequently, for different purposes and in different everyday contexts. In this paper, I discuss consciousness in one specific sense of the word. To avoid the ambiguities, I introduce a term of art ? intransitive self-consciousness ? and suggest that this form of self-consciousness is an essential component of the folk notion of consciousness. I then argue (...) for a specific account of consciousness as intransitive self-consciousness. According to this account, a mental state is conscious iff it represents its own occurrence. The argument is a ?modernizing? modification of an older argument due to Aristotle and Brentano. (shrink)
How come we can represent Bigfoot even though Bigfoot does not exist, given that representing something involves bearing a relation to it and we cannot bear relations to what does not exist? This is the problem of intentional inexistence. This paper develops a two-step solution to this problem, involving an adverbial account of conscious representation, or phenomenal intentionality, and the thesis that all representation derives from conscious representation. The solution is correspondingly two-part: we can consciously represent Bigfoot because consciously representing (...) Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather instantiating a certain non-relational property of representing Bigfoot-wise; and we can non-consciously represent Bigfoot because non-consciously representing Bigfoot does not involve bearing a relation to Bigfoot, but rather bearing a relation to conscious representations of Bigfoot. (shrink)
Recent work within such disparate research areas as the epistemology of perception, theories of well-being, animal and medical ethics, the philosophy of consciousness, and theories of understanding in philosophy of science and epistemology has featured disconnected discussions of what is arguably a single underlying question: What is the value of consciousness? The purpose of this paper is to review some of this work and place it within a unified theoretical framework that makes contributions (and contributors) from these disparate areas more (...) visible to one another. (shrink)
According to the old feeling theory of emotion, an emotion is just a feeling: a conscious experience with a characteristic phenomenal character. This theory is widely dismissed in contemporary discussions of emotion as hopelessly naïve. In particular, it is thought to suffer from two fatal drawbacks: its inability to account for the cognitive dimension of emotion (which is thought to go beyond the phenomenal dimension), and its inability to accommodate unconscious emotions (which, of course, lack any phenomenal character). In this (...) paper, I argue that the old feeling theory is in reality only a pair of modifications removed from a highly plausible account of the nature of emotion that retains the essential connection between emotion and feeling. These modifications are, moreover, motivated by recent developments in work on phenomenal consciousness. The first development is the rising recognition of a phenomenal character proper to cognition—so-called cognitive phenomenology. The second is the gathering momentum behind various ‘connection principles’ that specify some connection that a given state must bear to phenomenally conscious states in order to qualify as mental. These developments make it possible to formulate a new feeling theory of emotion, which would overcome the two fatal drawbacks of the old feeling theory. According to the new feeling theory, an emotion is a mental state that bears the right connection to conscious experiences with the right phenomenal character (involving, among other elements, a cognitive phenomenology). (shrink)
It is often assumed thatconsciousness and intentionality are twomutually independent aspects of mental life.When the assumption is denounced, it usuallygives way to the claim that consciousness issomehow dependent upon intentionality. Thepossibility that intentionality may bedependent upon consciousness is rarelyentertained. Recently, however, John Searle andColin McGinn have argued for just suchdependence. In this paper, I reconstruct andevaluate their argumentation. I am in sympathyboth with their view and with the lines ofargument they employ in its defense. UnlikeSearle and McGinn, however, I am (...) quite attachedto a naturalist approach to intentionality. Itwill turn out to be somewhat difficult toreconcile naturalism with the notion thatintentionality is dependent upon consciousness,although, perhaps surprisingly, I will arguethat McGinn's case for such dependence iscompatible with naturalism. (shrink)
Emotions can be understood generally from two different perspectives: (i) a third-person perspective that specifies their distinctive functional role within our overall cognitive economy and (ii) a first-person perspective that attempts to capture their distinctive phenomenal character, the subjective quality of experiencing them. One emotion that is of central importance in many ethical systems is respect (in the sense of respect for persons or so-called recognition-respect). However, discussions of respect in analytic moral philosophy have tended to focus almost entirely on (...) its functional role, in particular the behaviors that respect disposes us to engage in (or refrain from). Here we wish to investigate the phenomenal character of respect, what it is like to feel respect for persons. Since Kant is the reference point for modern discussions of respect, we try to reconstruct Kant’s account of the phenomenology of respect, but also endeavor to refine his account in light of our own phenomenological observations. (shrink)
It has often been thought that our knowledge of ourselves is _different_ from, perhaps in some sense _better_ than, our knowledge of things other than ourselves. Indeed, there is a thriving research area in epistemology dedicated to seeking an account of self-knowledge that would articulate and explain its difference from, and superiority over, other knowledge. Such an account would thus illuminate the descriptive and normative difference between self-knowledge and other knowledge.<sup>1</sup> At the same time, self- knowledge has also encountered its (...) share of skeptics – philosophers who refuse to accord it any descriptive, let alone normative, distinction. In this paper, we argue that there is at least one _species_ of self-knowledge that is different from, and better than, other knowledge. It is a specific kind of knowledge of one’s concurrent phenomenal experiences. Call knowledge of one’s own phenomenal experiences _phenomenal knowledge_. Our claim is that some (though not all) phenomenal knowledge is different from, and better than, non-phenomenal knowledge. In other. (shrink)
One of the promising approaches to the problem of consciousness has been the Higher-Order Monitoring Theory of Consciousness. According to the Higher-Order Monitoring Theory, a mental state M of a subject S is conscious iff S has another mental state, M*, such that M* is an appropriate representation of M. Recently, several philosophers have developed a Higher-Order Monitoring theory with a twist. The twist is that M and M* are construed as entertaining some kind of constitutive relation, rather than being (...) logically independent of each other. We may call this the Same-Order Monitoring Theory of Consciousness. In this paper, I discuss the nature of the Same-Order Monitoring Theory and argue for its superiority over the more traditional Higher-Order Monitoring Theory. (shrink)
This paper presents a systematic challenge to the viability of revisionary metaphysics. The challenge is to provide epistemic grounds on which one might justifiably believe that a revisionary-metaphysical theory in some area is more likely to be true than its competitors. I argue that upon close examination, the main candidates for providing such grounds — empirical evidence, intuition, and the theoretical virtues — all turn out to be unsatisfactory.
Moods are sometimes claimed to constitute an exception to the rule that mental phenomena are intentional (in the sense of representing something). In reaction, some philosophers have argued that moods are in fact intentional, but exhibit a special and unusual kind of intentionality: they represent the world as a whole, or everything indiscriminately, rather than some more specific object(s). In this paper, I present a problem for extant versions of this idea, then propose a revision that solves the problem but (...) also entrains an important change in our understanding of the nature of moods – and indeed of the nature of mind. What emerges is an intentionalist account that emphasizes the role of attitude rather than content in determining the character of moods. (shrink)
. When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": the bluish aspect and the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitative character and the for-me aspect its subjective character . What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character , of conscious experience? In this paper, I (...) examine six different attempts to account for subjective character in terms of the functional and representational properties of conscious experiences. After arguing against the first five, I defend the sixth. (shrink)
Contemporary theories of consciousness can be divided along several major fault lines, but one of the most prominent concerns the question of whether they accept the principle that a mental state's being conscious involves essentially its subject being aware of it. Call this the awareness principle: For any mental state M of a subject S, M is conscious only if S is aware of M. Although analytic philosophers divide sharply on whether to accept the principle, the philosophy-of-mind literature appears to (...) contain mainly arguments against it, rather than for it. One reason is that those who accept the principle often find themselves in a certain dialectical... (shrink)
Brentano's theory of consciousness has garnered a surprising amount of attention in recent philosophy of mind. Here I argue for a novel interpretation of Brentano's theory that casts it as more original than previously appreciated and yet quite plausible upon inspection. According to Brentano's theory, as interpreted here, a conscious experience of a tree is a mental state that can be simultaneously thought of, or framed, equally accurately as an awareness of a tree or an awareness of an awareness of (...) a tree. (shrink)
According to what we will call subjectivity theories of consciousness, there is a constitutive connection between phenomenal consciousness and subjectivity: there is something it is like for a subject to have mental state M only if M is characterized by a certain mine-ness or for-me-ness. Such theories appear to face certain psychopathological counterexamples: patients appear to report conscious experiences that lack this subjective element. A subsidiary goal of this chapter is to articulate with greater precision both subjectivity theories and the (...) psychopathological challenge they face. The chapter’s central goal is to present two new approaches to defending subjectivity theories in the face of this challenge. What distinguishes these two approaches is that they go to great lengths to interpret patients’ reports at face value – greater length, at any rate, than more widespread approaches in the extant literature. (shrink)
There are several differences between (i) seeing rain outside one’s window and (ii) episodically remembering seeing rain outside one’s window. One difference appears to pertain to felt temporal orientation: in episodically remembering seeing the rain, we experience the rain, and/or the seeing of it, as (having occurred in the) past; in perceiving the rain, we experience the rain as (in the) present. However, according to (what is widely regarded as) the most plausible metaphysics of time, there are no such properties (...) as being past and being present. This seems to lead to an error theory about all perception and episodic memory. In this paper, I show how to get out of this untoward result. The crucial move is a distinction between representing an event-as-present/past and representing-as-present/past an event. (shrink)
The ontology of (merely) intentional objects is a can of worms. If we can avoid ontological commitment to such entities, we should. In this paper, I offer a strategy for accomplishing that. This is to reject the traditional act-object account of intentionality in favor of an adverbial account. According to adverbialism about intentionality, having a dragon thought is not a matter of bearing the thinking-about relation to dragons, but of engaging in the activity of thinking dragon-wise.
According to a traditional view, there is no categorical difference between the phenomenology of perception and the phenomenology of imagination; the only difference is in degree (of intensity, resolution, etc.) and/or in accompanying beliefs. There is no categorical difference between what it is like to perceive a dog and what it is like to imagine a dog; the former is simply more vivid and/or is accompanied by the belief that a dog is really there. A sustained argument against this traditional (...) view is prosecuted by Sartre, who develops an alternative according to which there is a categorical difference between the two phenomenologies. This paper draws on Sartre’s work in this area to develop a similar account of perception and imagination as categorically different. (shrink)
Traditional accounts of the perception/cognition divide tend to draw it in terms of subpersonal psychological processes, processes into which the subject has no first-person insight. Whatever betides such accounts, there seems to also be some first-personally accessible difference between perception and thought. At least in normal circumstances, naïve subjects can typically tell apart their perceptual states from their cognitive or intellectual ones. What are such subjects picking up on when they do so? This paper is an inconclusive search for an (...) answer. At its end, I conclude, without joy, that we may have to simply accept the perception/cognition distinction as a primitive and inexplicable bright line within the sphere of conscious phenomena. (shrink)
We argue that the letter of the Extended Mind hypothesis can be accommodated by a strongly internalist, broadly Cartesian conception of mind. The argument turns centrally on an unusual but highly plausible view on the mark of the mental.
In recent philosophy of mind, it is often assumed that consciousness and self-consciousness are two separate phenomena. In this paper, I argue that this is not quite right. The argument proceeds in two phases. First, I draw a distinction between (i) being self-conscious of a thought that p and (ii) self-consciously thinking that p. I call the former transitive self-consciousness and the latter intransitive self-consciousness. I then argue that consciousness does depend on intransitive self-consciousness, and that the common reasons for (...) denying the dependence of consciousness upon self-consciousness apply only to transitive self-consciousness. (shrink)
What is dignity? My starting point is that dignity is one of those philosophical primitives that admit of no informative analysis. Nonetheless, I suggest, dignity might yield to indirect illumination when we consider the kind of experience we have (or rather find it fitting to have) in its presence. This experience, I claim, is what is sometimes known as recognition-respect. Through an examination of a neglected aspect of the phenomenology of recognition-respect, I argue that the possession of inner consciousness is (...) a precondition for the possession of dignity. The reason for this, I suggest, is that the ultimate privacy of the contents of our consciousness grounds a kind of inviolability characteristic of dignity. (shrink)
The ontological theory of the later Franz Brentano is often referred to as ‘reism.’ But what exactly is reism, and how is it related to modern-day nominalism? In this paper, I offer an interpretation of Brentano’s reism as a specific variety of nominalism. This variety, although motivated by distinctly modern concerns about truthmakers, adopts a strategy for providing such truthmakers that is completely foreign to modern nominalism. The strategy rests on proliferation of coincident concrete particulars. For example, ‘Socrates is wise’ (...) and ‘Socrates is Greek’ are made true, respectively, by wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates, where wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates are two coinciding but numerically distinct concrete particulars (which also coincide with Socrates). (shrink)
Disputes about what is phenomenologically manifest in conscious experience have a way of leading to deadlocks with remarkable immediacy. Disputants reach the foot-stomping stage of the dialectic more or less right after declaring their discordant views. It is this fact, I believe, that leads some to heterophenomenology and the like attempts to found Consciousness Studies on purely third-person grounds. In this paper, I explore the other possible reaction to this fact, namely, the articulation of methods for addressing phenomenological disputes. I (...) suggest two viable methods, of complementary value, which I call “the method of contrast” and “the method of knowability.”. (shrink)
Consider the following argument: when a phenomenon P is observable, any legitimate understanding of P must take account of observations of P; some mental phenomena—certain conscious experiences—are introspectively observable; so, any legitimate understanding of the mind must take account of introspective observations of conscious experiences. This paper offers a (preliminary and partial) defense of this line of thought. Much of the paper focuses on a specific challenge to it, which I call Schwitzgebel’s Challenge: the claim that introspection is so untrustworthy (...) that its indispensability for a genuine understanding of the mind only shows that no genuine understanding of the mind is possible. (shrink)
In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the (...) inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (?1) and a discussion of Gendler's alief/belief distinction (?2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (?3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (?4). (shrink)
Phenomenal beliefs are beliefs about the phenomenal properties of one's concurrent conscious states. It is an article of common sense that such beliefs tend to be justified. Philosophers have been less convinced. It is sometimes claimed that phenomenal beliefs are not on the whole justified, on the grounds that they are typically based on introspection and introspection is often unreliable. Here we argue that such reasoning must guard against a potential conflation between two distinct introspective phenomena, which we call fact-introspection (...) and thing -introspection; arguments for the unreliability of introspection typically target only the former, leaving the reliability of the latter untouched. In addition, we propose a theoretical framework for understanding thing -introspection that may have a surprising consequence: thing -introspection is not only reliable, but outright infallible. This points at a potential line of defense of phenomenal-belief justification, which here we only sketch very roughly. (shrink)
One of the distinctive properties of conscious states is the peculiar self- awareness implicit in them. Two rival accounts of this self-awareness are discussed. According to a Neo-Brentanian account, a mental state M is conscious iff M represents its very own occurrence. According to the Higher-Order Monitoring account, M is merely accompanied by a numerically distinct representation of its occurrence. According to both, then, M is conscious in virtue of ﬁguring in a higher-order content. The disagreement is over the question (...) whether the higher-order content is carried by M itself or by a differ- ent state. While the Neo-Brentanian theory is phenomenologically more attractive, it is often felt to be somewhat mysterious. It is argued that the difference between the Neo- Brentanian and Higher-Order Monitoring theories is smaller and more empirical than may initially seem, and that the Neo-Brentanian theory can be readily demystiﬁed. These considerations make it prima facie preferable to the Higher-Order Monitoring theory. (shrink)
To a first approximation, self-representationalism is the view that a mental state M is phenomenally conscious just in case M represents itself in the appropriate way. Proponents of self-representationalism seem to think that the phenomenology of ordinary conscious experience is on their side, but opponents seem to think the opposite. In this paper, I consider the phenomenological merits and demerits of self-representationalism. I argue that there is phenomenological evidence in favor of self-representationalism, and rather more confidently, that there is no (...) phenomenological evidence against self-representationalism. (shrink)
An increasing number of epistemologists defend the notion that some perceptual experiences can immediately justify some beliefs and do so in virtue of (some of) their phenomenal properties. But this view, which we may call phenomenal dogmatism, is also the target of various objections. Here I want to consider an objection that may be put as follows: What is so special about perceptual phenomenology that only it can immediately justify beliefs, while other kinds of phenomenology – including quite similar ones (...) – remain ‘epistemically inert’? I will argue that to overcome this objection, the phenomenal dogmatist should incorporate into her view a general principle – I call it the ‘experiential attitude/doxastic content link’ principle – that essentially extends the view from the perceptual case to other phenomenal states. (shrink)
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
The notion of intentionality is what Franz Brentano is best known for. But disagreements and misunderstandings still surround his account of its nature. In this paper, I argue that Brentano’s mature account of the nature of intentionality construes it, not as a two-place relation between a subject and an object, nor as a three-place relation between a subject’s act, its object, and a ‘content,’ but as an altogether non-relational, intrinsic property of subjects. I will argue that the view is more (...) defensible than might initially appear. (shrink)
A prominent view of phenomenal consciousness combines two claims: (i) the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states can be fully accounted for in terms of these states’ representational content; (ii) this representational content can be fully accounted for in non-phenomenal terms. This paper presents an argument against this view. The core idea is that the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states are not fixed entirely by what these states represent (their representational contents), but depend in part on how they represent (...) (their representational attitudes or modes). The argument highlights the myriad liabilities and difficulties one must accrue when one tries to appeal only to what phenomenally conscious states represent in accounting for their phenomenal individuation. (shrink)
A widespread assumption in current philosophy of mind is that a conscious state’s phenomenal properties vary with its representational contents. In this paper, I present (rather dogmatically) an alternative picture that recognizes two kinds of phenomenal properties that do not vary concomitantly with content. First, it admits phenomenal properties that vary rather with attitude: what it is like for me to see rain is phenomenally different from what it is like for me to remember (indistinguishable) rain, which is different again (...) from what it is like for me to visualize (indistinguishable) rain – where these differences cannot be traced back to variations in content. Secondly, there is a kind of phenomenal property that varies neither with content nor with attitude but is altogether invariant across all conscious states: a substantive phenomenal commonality among what it is like for me to see, remember, and visualize rain, cats, or dogs. This substantive commonality, I will suggest, is the for-me-ness component of what it is like for me to have any of these experiences. I will close by discussing the interrelations among these three concentric layers of phenomenality: content-based, attitude-based, and for-me-ness. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind tends to theorize about the propositional attitudes primarily in terms of belief and desire. But there is a propositional attitude, sometimes called ‘entertaining,’ that seems to resist analysis in terms of belief and desire, and has been thought at other times and places (notably, in late nineteenth-century Austrian philosophy) to be more fundamental than belief and desire. Whether or not we accept the fundamentality of entertaining, it certainly seems to be an attitude ill understood in contemporary (...) philosophy of mind. The purpose of this paper is to make first steps – very first steps – toward a more mature understanding of entertaining. (shrink)
Monitoring approaches to consciousness claim that a mental state is conscious when it is suitably monitored. Higher-order monitoring theory makes the monitoring state and the monitored state logically independent. Same-order monitoring theory claims a constitutive, non-contingent connection between the monitoring state and the monitored state. In this paper, I articulate different versions of the same-order monitoring theory and argue for its supremacy over the higher-order monitoring theory.
The main thesis of this paper is twofold. In the first half of the paper, (§§1-2), I argue that there are two notions of mental representation, which I call objective and subjective. In the second part (§§3-7), I argue that this casts familiar tracking theories of mental representation as incomplete: while it is clear how they might account for objective representation, they at least require supplementation to account for subjective representation.
Michael Tye has recently argued that the phenomenal character of conscious experiences is "one and the same as" (1) Poised (2) Abstract (3) Non-conceptual (4) Intentional Content (PANIC). Tye argues extensively that PANIC Theory accounts for differences in phenomenal character in representational terms. But another task of a theory of phenomenal consciousness is to account for the difference between those mental states that have phenomenal character at all and those that do not. By going through each of the four qualifiers (...) of PANIC, we argue that PANIC Theory fails to account for this difference in genuinely representational terms. We suggest, furthermore, that the reasons it fails are likely to be endemic to all representational theories of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
When a mental state is conscious â in the sense that there is something it is like for the subject to have it â it instantiates a certain property F in virtue of which it is a conscious state. It is customary to suppose that F is the property of having sensory quality. The paper argues that this supposition is false. The first part of the paper discusses reasons for thinking that unconscious mental states can have a sensory quality, for (...) example in cases of absent-minded perception. If unconscious mental states can have a sensory quality, then sensory quality is an insufficient condition for consciousness. The second part of the paper argues that there are even better reasons to think that sensory quality is an unnecessary condition for consciousness. The idea is that mental states can be conscious even when they lack sensory quality, for example, in the case of certain conscious propositional attitudes. In the third part of the paper, an alternative to the rejected supposition, drawn from the phenomenological tradition, is offered: that consciousness is a matter of implicit self-awareness, rather than of sensory quality. According to this alternative, a mental state is conscious when, and only when, it involves implicit self-awareness. (shrink)
Propositions such as are paradoxical, in that even though they can be true, they cannot be truly asserted or believed. This is Moore’s paradox. Sydney Shoemaker has recently ar- gued that the paradox arises from a constitutive relation that holds between ﬁrst- and second-order beliefs. This paper explores this approach to the paradox. Although Shoemaker’s own account of the paradox is rejected, a diﬀerent account along similar lines is endorsed. At the core of the endorsed account is the claim that (...) conscious beliefs are always partly about themselves; it will be shown to follow from this that conscious beliefs in Moorean propositions are self-contradictory. (shrink)
The centerpiece of the scientific study of consciousness is the search for the neural correlates of consciousness. Yet science is typically interested not only in discovering correlations, but also – and more deeply – in explaining them. When faced with a correlation between two phenomena in nature, we typically want to know why they correlate. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. The first half attempts to lay out the various possible explanations of the correlation between consciousness and its neural (...) correlate – to provide a sort of “menu” of options from which we probably would ultimately have to choose. The second half raises considerations suggesting that, under certain reasonable assumptions, the choice among these various options may be in principle underdetermined by the relevant scientific evidence. (shrink)
Perhaps the philosophical thesis most commonly associated with Brentano is that intentionality is the mark of the mental. But in fact Brentano often and centrally uses also what he calls ‘inner perception’ to demarcate the mental. In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Brentano’s conception of the interrelations between mentality, intentionality, and inner perception. According to this interpretation, Brentano took the concept of mind to be a natural-kind concept, with intentionality constituting the underlying nature of the mental and (...) inner-perceivability serving as the concept’s reference-fixer. (shrink)