Addressing Higher-Order Misrepresentation with Quotational Thought

Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (3-4):109-136 (2011)
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In this paper it is argued that existing ‘self-representational’ theories of phenomenal consciousness do not adequately address the problem of higher-order misrepresentation. Drawing a page from the phenomenal concepts literature, a novel self-representational account is introduced that does. This is the quotational theory of phenomenal consciousness, according to which the higher-order component of a conscious state is constituted by the quotational component of a quotational phenomenal concept. According to the quotational theory of consciousness, phenomenal concepts help to account for the very nature of phenomenally conscious states. Thus, the paper integrates two largely distinct explanatory projects in the field of consciousness studies: (i) the project of explaining how we think about our phenomenally conscious states, and (ii) the project of explaining what phenomenally conscious states are in the first place.
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