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Higher-order theories of consciousness

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

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  1. Answering Questions About Consciousness by Modeling Perception as Covert Behavior.Gustav Markkula - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • Asynchronous Introspection Theory: The Underpinnings of Phenomenal Consciousness in Temporal Illusion.Shuo Chen, Changle Zhou, Jing Li & Hua Peng - 2017 - Minds and Machines 27 (2):315-330.
    A new theory of the neuropsychological underpinnings of phenomenal consciousness, “asynchronous introspection theory,” is proposed that emphasizes asynchrony between different neurocognitive processes. We provide a detailed explanation of how a mind might arrive at a cognitive structure isomorphic to the cognitive structure that would emerge from experiential qualia. The theory suggests that a temporal illusion is created because of the mismatch between the real physical timeline and the neurally constructed timeline composed inside a person’s brain. This temporal illusion leads to (...)
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  • Meanings Attributed to the Term Consciousness: An Overview.Ram Vimal - 2009 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):9-27.
    I here describe meanings attributed to the term consciousness, extracted from the literature and from recent online discussions. Forty such meanings were identified and categorized according to whether they were principally about function or about experience; some overlapped but others were apparently mutually exclusive - and this list is by no means exhaustive. Most can be regarded as expressions of authors' views about the basis of con-sciousness, or opinions about the significance of aspects of its con-tents. The prospects for reaching (...)
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  • Privileges of First-Person Reference and of Third-Person Reference.Guido Melchior - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (1):37-52.
    It is a widely held view that persons have privileged knowledge about their own minds, although numerous different views on what this privilege exactly consists of exist. One possible way of interpreting it is to claim that persons can refer to their own mental states in a privileged way. I will argue that this view has to be extended. Our common-sense view about reference to mental states implies that besides privileges of first-person reference to one's own mental states, there also (...)
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  • The Cognitive Phenomenology Argument for Disembodied AI Consciousness.Cody Turner - 2020 - In Steven Gouveia (ed.), The Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Exploration. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press. pp. 111-132.
    In this chapter I offer two novel arguments for what I call strong primitivism about cognitive phenomenology, the thesis that there exists a phenomenology of cognition that is neither reducible to, nor dependent upon, sensory phenomenology. I then contend that strong primitivism implies that phenomenal consciousness does not require sensory processing. This latter contention has implications for the philosophy of artificial intelligence. For if sensory processing is not a necessary condition for phenomenal consciousness, then it plausibly follows that AI consciousness (...)
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  • The Unity of Unconsciousness.Tim Crane - 2017 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (1):1-21.
    What is the relationship between unconscious and conscious intentionality? Contemporary philosophy of mind treats the contents of conscious 10 intentional mental states as the same kind of thing as the contents of un- conscious mental states. According to the standard view that beliefs and desires are propositional attitudes, for example, the contents of these states are propositions, whether or not the states are conscious or unconscious. I dispute this way of thinking of conscious and unconscious content, and propose an alternative, (...)
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  • Walter Chatton.Rondo Keele & Jenny Pelletier - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Why the Question of Animal Consciousness Might Not Matter Very Much.Peter Carruthers - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):83-102.
    According to higher-order thought accounts of phenomenal consciousness it is unlikely that many non-human animals undergo phenomenally conscious experiences. Many people believe that this result would have deep and far-reaching consequences. More specifically, they believe that the absence of phenomenal consciousness from the rest of the animal kingdom must mark a radical and theoretically significant divide between ourselves and other animals, with important implications for comparative psychology. I shall argue that this belief is mistaken. Since phenomenal consciousness might be almost (...)
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  • Phenomenal Consciousness and Emergence: Eliminating the Explanatory Gap.Todd E. Feinberg & Jon Mallatt - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Addressing Higher-Order Misrepresentation with Quotational Thought.Vincent Picciuto - 2011 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (3-4):109-136.
    In this paper it is argued that existing ‘self-representational’ theories of phenomenal consciousness do not adequately address the problem of higher-order misrepresentation. Drawing a page from the phenomenal concepts literature, a novel self-representational account is introduced that does. This is the quotational theory of phenomenal consciousness, according to which the higher-order component of a conscious state is constituted by the quotational component of a quotational phenomenal concept. According to the quotational theory of consciousness, phenomenal concepts help to account for the (...)
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  • What is It Like to Be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  • The Attribution of Unity of Consciousness Over Time.Seyyed Bahram Borgheai - 2019 - Open Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):1-14.
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  • The Two-Dimensional Content of Consciousness.Simon Prosser - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):319 - 349.
    In this paper I put forward a representationalist theory of conscious experience based on Robert Stalnaker's version of two-dimensional modal semantics. According to this theory the phenomenal character of an experience correlates with a content equivalent to what Stalnaker calls the diagonal proposition. I show that the theory is closely related both to functionalist theories of consciousness and to higher-order representational theories. It is also more compatible with an anti-Cartesian view of the mind than standard representationalist theories.
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  • 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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  • Kant’s and Husserl’s Agentive and Proprietary Accounts of Cognitive Phenomenology.Julia Jansen - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (2):161-172.
    In this paper, I draw from Kantian and Husserlian reflections on the self-awareness of thinking for a contribution to the cognitive phenomenology debate. In particular, I draw from Kant’s conceptions of inner sense and apperception, and from Husserl’s notions of lived experience and self-awareness for an inquiry into the nature of our awareness of our own cognitive activity. With particular consideration of activities of attention, I develop what I take to be Kant’s and Husserl’s “agentive” and “proprietary” accounts. These, I (...)
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  • Consciousness Incorporated.Philip Pettit - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):12-37.
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  • Phenomenal Properties Are Luminous Properties.Geoffrey Hall - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11001-11022.
    What is the connection between having a phenomenal property and knowing that one has that property? A traditional view on the matter takes the connection to be quite intimate. Whenever one has a phenomenal property, one knows that one does. Recently most authors have denied this traditional view. The goal of this paper is to defend the traditional view. In fact, I will defend something much stronger: I will argue that what it is for a property to be phenomenal is (...)
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  • Unknown Pleasures.Ben Bramble - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1333-1344.
    According to attitudinal theories of pleasure and pain, what makes a given sensation count as a pleasure or a pain is just the attitudes of the experiencing agent toward it. In a previous article, I objected to such theories on the grounds that they cannot account for pleasures and pains whose subjects are entirely unaware of them at the time of experience. Recently, Chris Heathwood and Fred Feldman, the two leading contemporary defenders of attitudinal theories, have responded to this objection, (...)
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  • A Heterodox Defense of the Actualist Higher-Order Thought Theory.Andrea Marchesi - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    I defend the actualist higher-order thought theory against four objections. The first objection contends that the theory is circular. The second one contends that the theory is unable to account for the alleged epistemic position we are in with respect to our own conscious mental states. The third one contends that the theory is unable to account for the evidence we have for the proposition that all conscious mental states are represented. The fourth one contends that the theory does not (...)
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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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  • 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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  • The Abstraction/Representation Account of Computation and Subjective Experience.Jochen Szangolies - 2020 - Minds and Machines 30 (2):259-299.
    I examine the abstraction/representation theory of computation put forward by Horsman et al., connecting it to the broader notion of modeling, and in particular, model-based explanation, as considered by Rosen. I argue that the ‘representational entities’ it depends on cannot themselves be computational, and that, in particular, their representational capacities cannot be realized by computational means, and must remain explanatorily opaque to them. I then propose that representation might be realized by subjective experience, through being the bearer of the structure (...)
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  • Imperative Content and the Painfulness of Pain.Manolo Martínez - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):67-90.
    Representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness have problems in accounting for pain, for at least two reasons. First of all, the negative affective phenomenology of pain (its painfulness) does not seem to be representational at all. Secondly, pain experiences are not transparent to introspection in the way perceptions are. This is reflected, e.g. in the fact that we do not acknowledge pain hallucinations. In this paper, I defend that representationalism has the potential to overcome these objections. Defenders of representationalism have tried (...)
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  • A Framework for Conscious Information Processing.Balaram Das - manuscript
    This paper exploits the fact that the variability in the inter-spike intervals, in the spike train issuing from a neuron, carries substantial information regarding the input to the neuron. A framework for neuronal information processing is proposed which utilizes the above fact to distinguish phenomenal from non-phenomenal mental representation. In the process, an explanation is offered as to what is it, in the nature of conscious mental states, that imparts them a subjective feeling – there is something it is like (...)
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  • The Developmental Challenge to the Paradox of Pain.Kevin Reuter - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):265-283.
    People seem to perceive and locate pains in bodily locations, but also seem to conceive of pains as mental states that can be introspected. However, pains cannot be both bodily and mental, at least according to most conceptions of these two categories: mental states are not the kind of entities that inhabit body parts. How are we to resolve this paradox of pain? In this paper, I put forward what I call the ‘Developmental Challenge’, tackling the second pillar of this (...)
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  • Kinds of Consciousness.Jacob Berger - forthcoming - In Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Benjamin D. Young (eds.), Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience: A Philosophical Introduction. New York, NY, USA:
    Consciousness is central to our lived experience. It is unsurprising, then, that the topic has captivated many students, neuroscientists, philosophers, and other theorists working in cognitive science. But consciousness may seem especially difficult to explain. This is in part because the term “consciousness” has been used in many different ways. The goal of this chapter is to explore several kinds of consciousness: what theorists have called “creature,” “phenomenal,” “access,” “state,” “transitive,” “introspective,” and “self” consciousness. The basic distinctions among these kinds (...)
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  • Is Attention Both Necessary and Sufficient for Consciousness?Antonios Kaldas - 2019 - Dissertation, Macquarie University
    Is attention both necessary and sufficient for consciousness? Call this central question of this treatise, “Q.” We commonly have the experience of consciously paying attention to something, but is it possible to be conscious of something you are not attending to, or to attend to something of which you are not conscious? Where might we find examples of these? This treatise is a quest to find an answer to Q in two parts. Part I reviews the foundations upon which the (...)
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  • Visibility Is Not Equivalent to Confidence in a Low Contrast Orientation Discrimination Task.Manuel Rausch & Michael Zehetleitner - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Accounting for Consciousness: Epistemic and Operational Issues.Frederic Peters - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (4):441-461.
    Within the philosophy of mind, consciousness is currently understood as the expression of one or other cognitive modality, either intentionality , transparency , subjectivity or reflexivity . However, neither intentionality, subjectivity nor transparency adequately distinguishes conscious from nonconscious cognition. Consequently, the only genuine index or defining characteristic of consciousness is reflexivity, the capacity for autonoetic or self-referring, self-monitoring awareness. But the identification of reflexivity as the principal index of consciousness raises a major challenge in relation to the cognitive mechanism responsible (...)
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  • 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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  • Metacognitive Sensitivity of Subjective Reports of Decisional Confidence and Visual Experience.Manuel Rausch, Hermann J. Müller & Michael Zehetleitner - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 35:192-205.
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  • Medieval Approaches to Consciousness: Ockham and Chatton.Susan Brower-Toland - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-29.
    My aim in this paper is to advance our understanding of medieval approaches to consciousness by focusing on a particular but, as it seems to me, representative medieval debate. The debate in question is between William Ockham and Walter Chatton over the existence of what these two thinkers refer to as “reflexive intellective intuitive cognition”. Although framed in the technical terminology of late-medieval cognitive psychology, the basic question at issue between them is this: Does the mind (or “intellect”) cognize its (...)
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  • An Argument Against Dispositionalist HOT.David Jehle & Uriah Kriegel - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):463-476.
    In this paper we present a two-stage argument against Peter Carruthers' theory of phenomenal consciousness. The first stage shows that Carruthers' main argument against first-order representational theories of phenomenal consciousness applies with equal force against his own theory. The second stage shows that if Carruthers can escape his own argument against first-order theories, it will come at the cost of wedding his theory to certain unwelcome implausibilities. discusses Carruthers' argument against first-order representationalism. presents Carruthers' theory of consciousness. presents our argument (...)
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