Mental Ownership and Higher Order Thought

Analysis 70 (3):496-501 (2010)
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Mental ownership concerns who experiences a mental state. According to David Rosenthal (2005: 342), the proper way to characterize mental ownership is: ‘being conscious of a state as present is being conscious of it as belonging to somebody. And being conscious of a state as belonging to somebody other than oneself would plainly not make it a conscious state’. In other words, if a mental state is consciously present to a subject in virtue of a higher-order thought (HOT), then the HOT necessarily representsthe subject as the owner of the state. But, we contend, one of the lessons to be learned from pathological states like somatoparaphrenia is that conscious awareness of a mental state does not guarantee first-person ownership. That is to say, conscious presence does not imply mental ownership.

Author Profiles

Caleb Liang
National Taiwan University
Timothy Joseph Lane
Academia Sinica


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