Franz Brentano and Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness

Argumentos 7 (3):9-39 (2015)
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Abstract
This article addresses the recent reception of Franz Brentano's writings on consciousness. I am particularly interested in the connection established between Brentano's theory of consciousness and higher-order theories of consciousness and, more specifically, the theory proposed by David Rosenthal. My working hypothesis is that despite the many similarities that can be established with Rosenthal's philosophy of mind, Brentano's theory of consciousness differs in many respects from higher-order theories of consciousness and avoids most of the criticisms generally directed to them. This article is divided into eight parts. The first two sections expound the basic outline of Rosenthal's theory, and the third summarizes the principal objections that Rosenthal addresses to Brentano, which I, then, examine in sections 4 and 5. In sections 6 and 7, I discuss Brentano's principle of the unity of consciousness, and in section 8, I consider the scope of the changes that Brentano brings to his theory of consciousness in his later writings, which follow the 1874 publication of Psychology. I then draw the conclusion that Brentano's theory rests on a view of intransitive and intrinsic self-consciousness.
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Archival date: 2018-02-12
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