On Whether the Higher-Order Thought Theory of Consciousness Entails Cognitive Phenomenology, or: What is it Like to Think that One Thinks that P?

Philosophical Topics 40 (2):1-12 (2012)
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Abstract

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 we will present two arguments that a “yes” answer to this question of cognitive phenomenology can be obtained via appeal to the HOT theory of consciousness, especially the version articulated and defended by David Rosenthal.

Author Profiles

Pete Mandik
William Paterson University of New Jersey
Richard Brown
LaGuardia Community College (CUNY)

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