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Abstract: In this chapter I look closely at the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. I begin with a consideration of Gurwitsch's suggestive ideas about the role of acts of consciousness in constituting both the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I turn next to a discussion of how these ideas relate to my own empirical approach to intentional relations seen from a developmental perspective. This is followed by a discussion of some recent ideas in philosophical cognitive science on the intentionality of consciousness, both with respect to the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I show that these recent trends tend to naturalize intentionality and consciousness in directions compatible with the descriptive aspects of Gurwitsch's constitutive phenomenology
Abstract: The phenomenal character of perceptual experience involves the representation of colour, spatial and temporal properties, but does it also involve the representation of high-level categories? Is the recognition of an object as a tomato encoded in the phenomenology of perception? Proponents of a conservative view of the reach of phenomenal content say “no”, whereas those who take a liberal view of perceptual phenomenology say “yes”. This paper clarifies the debate between conservatives and liberals, and provides a case in favour of the liberal position: high-level content can inform perceptual phenomenology
Abstract: Suppose your conscious life were surgically excised, but everything else left intact, what would you miss? In this situation you would not have the slightest idea what was going on. You would have no idea what there is in the world around you; what the grounds are of the potentialities and threats are that you are negotiating. Experience of your surroundings provides you with knowledge of what is there: with your initial base of knowledge of what the things are that you are thinking and talking about. But this connection between consciousness of the objects and properties around you, and knowledge of the references of the basic terms you use, has proven difficult to articulate. The connection cannot be recognized so long as you think of consciousness as a kind of glow with which representations are accompanied or enlivened. It is, though, also possible to think of perceptual experience as fundamentally a relation between the subject and the things experienced; and given such a conception, we can make visible the link between consciousness and reference
Abstract: *[[I wrote this paper in January of 1990, but did not publish it because I was never entirely happy with it. My ideas on consciousness were in a state of flux, ultimately evolving into those represented in my book _The Conscious Mind_ (Oxford University Press, 1996). I now think that some parts of this paper are unsatisfactory, especially the positive theory outlined at the end, although a successor to that theory is laid out in the book. Nevertheless, I think the paper raises issues that need to be addressed. ]]
Abstract: When it comes to applying computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, cognitive scientists appear to face a dilemma. The only strategy that seems to be available is one that explains consciousness in terms of special kinds of computational processes. But such theories, while they dominate the field, have counter-intuitive consequences; in particular, they force one to accept that phenomenal experience is composed of information processing effects. For cognitive scientists, therefore, it seems to come down to a choice between a counter-intuitive theory or no theory at all. We offer a way out of this dilemma. We argue that the computational theory of mind doesn't force cognitive scientists to explain consciousness in terms of computational processes, as there is an alternative strategy available: one that focuses on the representational vehicles that encode information in the brain. This alternative approach to consciousness allows us to do justice to the standard intuitions about phenomenal experience, yet remain within the confines of cognitive science
Abstract: This version of this paper has been superseded by a substantially revised version in G. Strawson, Real Materialism and Other Essays (OUP 2008)
I take 'content' in a natural internalist way to refer to occurrent mental content. I introduce a 'thin' or ‘live’ notion of the subject according to which a subject of experience cannot exist unless there is an experience for it to be the subject of. I then argue, first, that in the case of a particular experience E, its content C, and its (thin) subject S, [C ↔ E ↔ S]; and, second, that the metaphysical fact that underlies this (strong modal) equivalence is in fact identity: [E = S = C]. I suggest that the effort of thought required to grasp this is deeply revealing of the nature of reality. On the way I raise a doubt about the viability of the traditional object/property distinction.