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The representational theory of consciousness

Dissertation, Australian National University (2010)

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  1. Intensional Perceptual Ascriptions.David Bourget - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):513-530.
    This paper defends the view that perceptual ascriptions such as “Jones sees a cat” are sometimes intensional. I offer a range of examples of intensional perceptual ascriptions, respond to objections to intensional readings of perceptual ascriptions, and show how widely accepted semantic accounts of intensionality can explain the key features of intensional perceptual ascriptions.
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  • Representationalism and Sensory Modalities: An Argument for Intermodal Representationalism.David Bourget - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):251-268.
    Intermodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are fully determined by their contents. In contrast, intramodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are determined by their contents together with their intentional modes or manners of representation, which are nonrepresentational features corresponding roughly to the sensory modalities. This paper discusses a kind of experience that provides evidence for an intermodal representationalist view: intermodal experiences, experiences that unify experiences in different modalities. I argue that such experiences are much (...)
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  • Immediate and Reflective Senses.Angela Mendelovici - 2019 - In Dena Shottenkirk, Manuel Curado & Steven Gouveia (eds.), Perception, Cognition, and Aesthetics. New York: Routledge. pp. 187-209.
    This paper argues that there are two distinct kinds of senses, immediate senses and reflective senses. Immediate senses are what we are immediately aware of when we are in an intentional mental state, while reflective senses are what we understand of an intentional mental state's (putative) referent upon reflection. I suggest an account of immediate and reflective senses that is based on the phenomenal intentionality theory, a theory of intentionality in terms of phenomenal consciousness. My focus is on the immediate (...)
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  • Consciousness and Intentionality.Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - forthcoming - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers traditionally recognize two main features of mental states: intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. To a first approximation, intentionality is the aboutness of mental states, and phenomenal consciousness is the felt, experiential, qualitative, or "what it's like" aspect of mental states. In the past few decades, these features have been widely assumed to be distinct and independent. But several philosophers have recently challenged this assumption, arguing that intentionality and consciousness are importantly related. This article overviews the key views on the relationship (...)
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  • Representationalism, Perceptual Distortion and the Limits of Phenomenal Concepts.David Bourget - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):16-36.
    This paper replies to objections from perceptual distortion against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that some pairs of distorted and undistorted experiences share contents without sharing phenomenal characters, which is incompatible with the supervenience thesis. In reply, I suggest that such cases are not counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished in some way compared to those of normal experiences. This (...)
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  • The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.David Bourget - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318.
    One sometimes believes a proposition without grasping it. For example, a complete achromat might believe that ripe tomatoes are red without grasping this proposition. My aim in this paper is to shed light on the difference between merely believing a proposition and grasping it. I focus on two possible theories of grasping: the inferential theory, which explains grasping in terms of inferential role, and the phenomenal theory, which explains grasping in terms of phenomenal consciousness. I argue that the phenomenal theory (...)
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  • Relational Vs Adverbial Conceptions of Phenomenal Intentionality.David Bourget - forthcoming - In Arthur Sullivan (ed.), Sensations, Thoughts, Language: Essays in honor of Brian Loar. Routledge.
    This paper asks whether phenomenal intentionality (intentionality that arises from phenomenal consciousness alone) has a relational structure of the sort envisaged in Russell’s theory of acquaintance. I put forward three arguments in favor of a relation view: one phenomenological, one linguistic, and one based on the view’s ability to account for the truth conditions of phenomenally intentional states. I then consider several objections to the relation view. The chief objection to the relation view takes the form of a dilemma between (...)
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  • Tracking Representationalism.David Bourget & Angela Mendelovici - 2014 - In Andrew Bailey (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: The Key Thinkers. Continuum. pp. 209-235.
    This paper overviews the current status of debates on tracking representationalism, the view that phenomenal consciousness is a matter of tracking features of one's environment in a certain way. We overview the main arguments for the view and the main objections and challenges it faces. We close with a discussion of alternative versions of representationalism that might overcome the shortcomings of tracking representationalism.
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