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The Brain and its States

In Shimon Edelman, Tomer Fekete & Neta Zach (eds.), Being in Time: Dynamical Models of Phenomenal Experience. John Benjamins. pp. 211-238 (2012)

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  1. A Higher-Order Theory of Emotional Consciousness.Joseph LeDoux & Richard Brown - 2017 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (10):E2016-E2025.
    Emotional states of consciousness, or what are typically called emotional feelings, are traditionally viewed as being innately programed in subcortical areas of the brain, and are often treated as different from cognitive states of consciousness, such as those related to the perception of external stimuli. We argue that conscious experiences, regardless of their content, arise from one system in the brain. On this view, what differs in emotional and non-emotional states is the kind of inputs that are processed by a (...)
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  • The Resilience of a Refined Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness.Lee-Anna T. Sangster - unknown
    This dissertation consists of three independent papers, each defending the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness against a different objection. First the HOT theory is defended against the Theory of Mind Objection. Since the HOT theory requires that a subject be able to represent mental states in thought in order to have mental states that are conscious, objectors argue from empirical evidence that few creatures pass TOM tests to the conclusion that few creatures must be capable of having conscious mental states (...)
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  • On Whether the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness Entails Cognitive Phenomenology, Or: What is It Like to Think That One Thinks That P?Richard Brown & Pete Mandik - 2012 - Philosophical Topics 40 (2):1-12.
    Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation or mental image? In this paper (...)
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  • The HOROR Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness.Richard Brown - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1783-1794.
    One popular approach to theorizing about phenomenal consciousness has been to connect it to representations of a certain kind. Representational theories of consciousness can be further sub-divided into first-order and higher-order theories. Higher-order theories are often interpreted as invoking a special relation between the first-order state and the higher-order state. However there is another way to interpret higher-order theories that rejects this relational requirement. On this alternative view phenomenal consciousness consists in having suitable higher-order representations. I call this ‘HOROR’ (‘Higher-Order (...)
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  • Perceptual Consciousness Plays No Epistemic Role.Jacob Berger - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):7-23.
    It is often assumed that perceptual experience provides evidence about the external world. But much perception can occur unconsciously, as in cases of masked priming or blindsight. Does unconscious perception provide evidence as well? Many theorists maintain that it cannot, holding that perceptual experience provides evidence in virtue of its conscious character. Against such views, I challenge here both the necessity and, perhaps more controversially, the sufficiency of consciousness for perception to provide evidence about the external world. In addition to (...)
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  • The Emperor's New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experience Without First-Order Representations.Hakwan Lau & Richard Brown - 2019 - In Adam Pautz & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness. MIT Press.
    We discuss cases where subjects seem to enjoy conscious experience when the relevant first-order perceptual representations are either missing or too weak to account for the experience. Though these cases are originally considered to be theoretical possibilities that may be problematical for the higher-order view of consciousness, careful considerations of actual empirical examples suggest that this strategy may backfire; these cases may cause more trouble for first-order theories instead. Specifically, these cases suggest that (I) recurrent feedback loops to V1 are (...)
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  • Rosenthal's Representationalism.Jacob Berger & Richard Brown - forthcoming - In Josh Weisberg (ed.), Qualitative Consciousness: Themes from the Philosophy of David Rosenthal. Cambridge.
    David Rosenthal explains conscious mentality in terms of two independent, though complementary, theories—the higher-order thought (“HOT”) theory of consciousness and quality-space theory (“QST”) about mental qualities. It is natural to understand this combination of views as constituting a kind of representationalism about experience—that is, a version of the view that an experience’s conscious character is identical with certain of its representational properties. At times, however, Rosenthal seems to resist this characterization of his view. We explore here whether and to what (...)
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  • Conceptualizing Consciousness.Jacob Berger & Richard Brown - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-23.
    One of the most promising theories of consciousness currently available is higher-order thought (“HOT”) theory, according to which consciousness consists in having suitable HOTs regarding one’s mental life. But critiques of HOT theory abound. We explore here three recent objections to the theory, which we argue at bottom founder for the same reason. While many theorists today assume that consciousness is a feature of the actually existing mental states in virtue of which one has experiences, this assumption is in tension (...)
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  • Consciousness Doesn't Overflow Cognition.Richard Brown - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01399.
    Theories of consciousness can be separated into those that see it as cognitive in nature, or as an aspect of cognitive functioning, and those that see consciousness as importantly distinct from any kind of cognitive functioning. One version of the former kind of theory is the higher-order-thought theory of consciousness. This family of theories posits a fundamental role for cognitive states, higher-order thought-like intentional states, in the explanation of conscious experience. These states are higher-order in that they represent the subject (...)
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