Dialogue and Cognitive Phenomenology

Erkenntnis (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Traditionally, phenomenal consciousness has been restricted to the realm of perceptual and otherwise sensory experiences. If there is a kind of phenomenology altogether unlike sensory phenomenology, then this was a mistake, and requires an accounting. I argue such cognitive phenomenology exists by appealing to a phenomenal contrast case that relies on meaningful and relatively meaningless dialogue. I explain why previous phenomenal contrast arguments are less likely to be effective on even neutral parties to the debate: these arguments rely on a ‘hard-to understand’ sentence, which may elicit sensory crutches that one focuses on, thereby obscuring cognitive phenomenology. I also argue for a positive characterization of the phenomenal contrast in terms of seeming to be aware of abstract relations that obtain between different contributions in a dialogue. This paves the way for arguing that what it’s like to entertain a cognitive content that p differs from that of q in their cognitive phenomenology.

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