Meaning Representationalism: Between Representationalism and Qualia Realism

Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2016)
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The purpose of this article is to offer a new view of the key relation between the content and the conscious character of visual experience. The author aims to support the following claims. First, the author rejects the qualia realist claim that conscious character is an intrinsic, nonrepresentational property of visual experience, for example, a pattern of activation of neurons. However, the author also rejects the rival widespread representationalist claim that the conscious character of visual experience is identical to, or supervenes on, any specific property represented by visual experience. The positive proposal is the following. Conscious character is identical to those patterns of activation of neurons that are referentially or representationally alive. Conscious redness, for example, is a pattern of activations of neurons that is normally created only when brains of physical duplicates come in visual contact with some distal property. This pattern of activation is recruited by natural selection to represent that property. This is called meaning representationalism.

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Roberto Horácio De Pereira
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro


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