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The Emperor's New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experience without First-Order Representations

In Adam Pautz & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Blockheads! Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness. MIT Press (2019)

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  1. Prefrontal Lesion Evidence Against Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness.Benjamin Kozuch - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):721-746.
    According to higher-order theories of consciousness, a mental state is conscious only when represented by another mental state. Higher-order theories must predict there to be some brain areas (or networks of areas) such that, because they produce (the right kind of) higher-order states, the disabling of them brings about deficits in consciousness. It is commonly thought that the prefrontal cortex produces these kinds of higher-order states. In this paper, I first argue that this is likely correct, meaning that, if some (...)
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  • If Perception is Probabilistic, Why Doesn't It Seem Probabilistic?Ned Block - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
    The success of the Bayesian approach to perception suggests probabilistic perceptual representations. But if perceptual representation is probabilistic, why doesn't normal conscious perception reflect the full probability distributions that the probabilistic point of view endorses? For example, neurons in MT/V5 that respond to the direction of motion are broadly tuned: a patch of cortex that is tuned to vertical motion also responds to horizontal motion, but when we see vertical motion, foveally, in good conditions, it does not look at all (...)
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  • Consciousness is Not a Property of States: A Reply to Wilberg.Jacob Berger - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):829-842.
    According to Rosenthal's higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness, one is in a conscious mental state if and only if one is aware of oneself as being in that state via a suitable HOT. Several critics have argued that the possibility of so-called targetless HOTs?that is, HOTs that represent one as being in a state that does not exist?undermines the theory. Recently, Wilberg (2010) has argued that HOT theory can offer a straightforward account of such cases: since consciousness is a (...)
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  • Consciousness and Mental Qualities for Auditory Sensations.Adriana Renero - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (9-10):179-204.
    The contribution of recent theories of sound and audition has been extremely significant for the development of a philosophy of auditory perception; however, none tackle the question of how our consciousness of auditory states arises. My goal is to show how consciousness about our auditory experience gets triggered. I examine a range of auditory mental phenomena to show how we are able to capture qualitative distinctions of auditory sensations. I argue that our consciousness of auditory states consists in having thoughts (...)
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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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  • The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts.David Pereplyotchik - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (3):434-448.
    Gennaro presents a version of the higher-order thought theory of consciousness that differs from the version defended by Rosenthal . I explore several key differences between Gennaro's and Rosenthal's views, with an eye toward establishing that Rosenthal's Extrinsic Higher-Order Thought theory is preferable to Gennaro's Wide Intrinsicality View . Gennaro's attempts to demonstrate the superiority of the WIV rest on an unargued and implausible assumption to the effect that the higher-order intentional contents of self-representing conscious states are necessarily accurate. Gennaro (...)
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  • Keeping It Real: Intentional Inexistents, Fineness‐of‐Grain, and the Dilemma for Extrinsic Higher‐Order Representational Theories.Vincent Picciuto - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):555-575.
    According to the standard argument from targetless higher-order representations, the possibility of such representations presents a dilemma for higher-order theorists. In this article I argue that there are two theoretically well-motivated replies to the standard argument. Consequently, the standard argument against higher-order theories fails. I then go on to argue that while certain versions of higher-order theory can adequately respond to the standard argument, they both, nevertheless, fail to explain the fineness-of-grain that phenomenally conscious experience appears to have.
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  • Why the Rare Charles Bonnet Cases Are Not Evidence of Misrepresentation.Asger Kirkeby-Hinrup - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Research 39:301-308.
    Recently, the possibility of misrepresentation has resurfaced in the debate between higher-order thought theorists and their opponents. One new element in the debate has been the rare cases of Charles Bonnet syndrome , proposed as empirical evidence for misrepresentation as posited by the higher-order theories. In this article I will spell out the argument supposedly underlying the claim that the RCB cases are genuine empirical evidence of misrepresentation. I will then proceed to show that this argument relies on a hidden (...)
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  • Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment.William Seager - 1999 - Routledge.
    Theories of Consciousness provides an introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, questions the nature of consciousness, and contributes to current debates about whether a scientific understanding of consciousness is possible. While discussing key figures including Descartes, Fodor, Dennett and Chalmers, the book incorporates identity theories, representational theories, intentionality, externalism and new information-based theories.
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  • A Cognitive Account of Agentive Awareness.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (5):545-563.
    Agentive awareness is one's awareness of oneself as presently acting. Dominant accounts in cognitive science consider agentive awareness to be grounded in the states and processes underlying sensorimotor control. In this paper, I raise concerns for this approach and develop an alternative. Broadly, in the approach I defend, one is agentively aware in the virtue of intending to act. I further argue that agentive awareness is not constituted by intentions themselves but rather first-personal thoughts that are formed on the basis (...)
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