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Abstract: This is an excellent book, one of the best I have read on consciousness in recent years. It is rigorously argued and contains interesting suggestions as to how to solve the mystery of consciousness. Following the standard literature, Uriah Kriegel takes consciousness to be the "what it is like for me"-ness of conscious mental states. This is also what is sometimes called the 'phenomenal character' of conscious mental states. For Kriegel (as for Levine), phenomenal character has two components: qualitative character and subjective character. If I have a red experience, the phenomenal redness of my experience is the qualitative character of my experience, whereas the for-me-ness is the subjective character of the experience. Kriegel states that the qualitative character of conscious mental states is what makes the conscious mental state the kind of conscious experience it is, whereas the for-me-ness of the mental state is what makes the mental state a conscious state in the first place. The mystery of consciousness, he says, does not lie in the qualitative character of experience. According to him, the question of how brain processes can give rise to purely qualitative redness is no harder to answer than that of how physical matter can instantiate colors. The mystery of consciousness lies in the for-me-ness of conscious experience. Kriegel then goes on to give an account of the subjective character of conscious mental states. He argues that the subjective character of conscious mental states consists in the state representing itself. It's the self-representational nature of conscious mental states that makes them conscious. The self-representational nature of conscious mental states is a kind of peripheral awareness. If I have a red experience, I am focally aware of redness but I am peripherally aware of the experience itself. Along the way Kriegel rebuts a number of alternative theories of subjective character: among others, that it is a kind of primitive property of conscious mental states, and that it is a representation of the conscious mental state by a higher-order state. I agree with many of Kriegel's arguments against both the naive primitivist view and the higher-order theoretical approach. My main concerns lie elsewhere. My three main points of disagreement can be summarized as follows: (1) Assuming that it makes sense to separate qualitative and subjective character I believe that the qualitative character of conscious mental states is at least as mysterious as the subjective character. (2) I believe Uriah's theory is at odds with plausible gradability theories of perception. (3) I am skeptical about the project of developing a reductive metaphysical theory of consciousness in terms of self-representation.
Abstract: It is often said that some kind of peripheral (or inattentional) conscious awareness accompanies our focal (attentional) consciousness. I agree that this is often the case, but clarity is needed on several fronts. In this paper, I lay out four distinct theses on peripheral awareness and show that three of them are true. However, I then argue that a fourth thesis, commonly associated with the so-called "self-representational approach to consciousness," is false. The claim here is that we have outer focal consciousness accompanied often (or even always) by inner peripheral (self-)awareness. My criticisms stem from both methodological and phenomenological considerations. In doing so, I offer a diagnosis as to why the fourth thesis has seemed true to so many and also show how the so-called "transparency of experience," frequently invoked by representationalists, is importantly relevant to my diagnosis. Finally, I respond to several objections and to further attempts to show that thesis four is true. What emerges is that if one wishes to hold that some form of self-awareness accompanies all outer-directed conscious states, one is better off holding that such self-awareness is itself unconscious, as is held for example by standard higher-order theories of consciousness.
Abstract: Alice has insomnia. She has trouble falling asleep and part of the problem is that she worries about it and realizes that her worrying about it tends to keep from falling asleep. It occurs to her that thinking that she will not be able to fall asleep may be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps she even has a thought that might be expressed like this: I am not going to fall asleep because of my having this very thought. This thought (perhaps correctly) attributes to itself the property of keeping her awake
Abstract: I will be concerned in these pages with the views that Gilbert Harman puts forward in his immensely stimulating paper Self-Reflexive Thoughts.<sup>1</sup> Harman maintains that self referential thoughts are possible, and also that they are useful. I applaud both of these claims. An example of a self referential thought is the thought that every thought, including this present one, has a logical structure. I feel sure that this thought exists, for I have entertained it on a number of occasions. Moreover, I feel that it is extremely useful. Without deploying it, how could we tell the whole truth about the nature of thoughts?
Abstract: The outstanding stumbling blocks to any reductive account of phenomenal consciousness remain the subjectivity of phenomenal properties and cognitive and epistemic gaps that plague the relationship between physical and phenomenal properties. I suggest that a deflationary interpretation of both is available to defenders of self- representational accounts
Abstract: Two claims have been prominent in recent discussions of self-consciousness. One is that first-person reference or first-person thinking is irreducible (the Irreducibility Thesis), and the other is that an awareness of self accompanies all conscious states, at least those through which one refers to something. The latter--here termed the Ubiquity Thesis--has long been associated with philosophers like Fichte, Brentano, and Sartre, though each articulated his own version of the claim. More recently, variants have been defended by Dieter Henrich (1970) and Manfred Frank (1991, 1995a, 1995b). In Frank's words
Abstract: b>. One major problem many hypotheses regarding the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) face is what we might call “the why question”: _why _would this particular neural feature, rather than another, correlate with consciousness? The purpose of the present paper is to develop an NCC hypothesis that answers this question. The proposed hypothesis is inspired by the Cross-Order Integration (COI) theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness arises from the functional integration of a first-order representation of an external stimulus and a second-order representation of that first-order representation. The proposal comes in two steps. The first step concerns the “general shape” of the NCC and can be directly derived from COI theory. The second step is a concrete hypothesis that can be arrived at by combining the general shape with empirical considerations
Abstract: 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 (i.e., intransitively self-conscious) iff it represents its own occurrence. The argument is a ?modernizing? modification of an older argument due to Aristotle and Brentano
Abstract: 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 (i) that the difference between the Neo-
Brentanian and Higher-Order Monitoring theories is smaller and more empirical than may
initially seem, and (ii) that the Neo-Brentanian theory can be readily demystiﬁed. These
considerations make it prima facie preferable to the Higher-Order Monitoring theory.
Abstract: Abstract. 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": (i) the bluish aspect and (ii) 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
Abstract: When I have an experience of the blue sky, there is a bluish it is like for me to have the experience. There are two components to this “bluish way it is like for me”: the bluish component, which I call qualitative character; and the for-me component, which I call subjective character. The paper examines six options for naturalizing subjective character.
Abstract: 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
Abstract: 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
Abstract: According to the self-representational theory of consciousness – self-
representationalism for short – a mental state is phenomenally conscious when, and
only when, it represents itself in the right way. In this paper, I consider how self-
representationalism might address the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal
consciousness and physical properties. I open with a presentation of self-
representationalism and the case for it (§1). I then present what I take to be the most
promising self-representational approach to the explanatory gap (§2). That approach
is threatened, however, by an objection to self-representationalism, due to Levine,
which I call the just more representation objection (§3). I close with a discussion of
how the self-representationalist might approach the objection (§4).
Abstract: 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
Abstract: Brook and Raymont do not assert that self-representing representations are sufficient to generate consciousness, but they do assert that they are necessary, at least in the sense that self-representation provides the most plausible mechanism for generating conscious mental states. I argue that a first-order approach to consciousness is equally capable of accounting for the putative features of consciousness which are supposed to favor the self-representational account. If nothing is gained the simplicity of the first-order theory counts in its favor. I also advance a speculative proposal that we are never aware of any distinctively mental attributes of our own states of consciousness except via an independent act of reflective conceptualization, although this goes rather farther than the first-order theory strictly requires
Abstract: Consciousness and self-awareness seem intuitively linked, but how they intertwine is less than clear. Must one be self-aware in order to be consciousness? Indeed, is consciousness just a special type of self-awareness? Or perhaps it is the other way round: Is being self-aware a special way of being conscious? Discerning their connections is complicated by the fact that both the main relata themselves admit of many diverse forms and levels. One might be conscious or self- aware in many different ways or respects, and to varying degrees. Thus the real questions of linkage must be posed more specifically. We need to ask not whether the two are bound in general, but whether and how being conscious in some specific sense and degree relates to some particular sort of self-awareness. Only those more specific questions are likely to have fully determinate answers
Abstract: The same-order representation theory of consciousness holds that conscious mental states represent both the world and themselves. This complex representational structure is posited in part to avoid a powerful objection to the more traditional higher-order representation theory of consciousness. The objection contends that the higher-order theory fails to account for the intimate relationship that holds between conscious states and our awareness of them--the theory 'divides the phenomenal labor' in an illicit fashion. This 'failure of intimacy' is exposed by the possibility of misrepresentation by higher-order states. In this paper, I argue that despite appearances, the same-order theory fails to avoid the objection, and thus also has troubles with intimacy
Abstract: Dan Zahavi has argued persuasively that some versions of self- representationalism are implausible on phenomenological and dialectical grounds: they fail to make sense of primitive self-knowledge and lead to an infinite regress. Zahavi proposes an alternative view of ubiquitous prereflective self-consciousness
Abstract: For a cou ple of decades, higher-order the o ries of con scious ness have enjoyed great pop u lar ity, but they have recently been met with grow ing dis sat is - fac tion. Many have started to look else where for via ble alter na tives, and within the last few years, quite a few have redis cov ered Brentano. In this paper such a (neo-)Brentanian one-level account of con scious ness will be out lined and dis - cussed. It will be argued that it can con trib ute impor tant insights to our under - stand ing of the rela tion between con scious ness and self-aware ness, but it will also be argued that the account remains beset with some prob lems, and that it will ulti mately make more sense to take a closer look at Sartre, Husserl, and Heidegger, if one is on the look out for prom is ing alter na tives to the higher-order the o ries, than to return all the way to Brentano