Jaspers' Dilemma: The Psychopathological Challenge to Subjectivity Theories of Consciousness

In R. Gennaro (ed.), Disturbed Consciousness. MIT Press. pp. 29-54 (2015)
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According to what we will call subjectivity theories of consciousness, there is a constitutive connection between phenomenal consciousness and subjectivity: there is something it is like for a subject to have mental state M only if M is characterized by a certain mine-ness or for-me-ness. Such theories appear to face certain psychopathological counterexamples: patients appear to report conscious experiences that lack this subjective element. A subsidiary goal of this chapter is to articulate with greater precision both subjectivity theories and the psychopathological challenge they face. The chapter’s central goal is to present two new approaches to defending subjectivity theories in the face of this challenge. What distinguishes these two approaches is that they go to great lengths to interpret patients’ reports at face value – greater length, at any rate, than more widespread approaches in the extant literature.

Author Profiles

Alexandre Billon
Université de Lille
Uriah Kriegel
Rice University


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