On a Distinction between Access and Phenomenal Consciousness


In his paper "On A Confusion about a Function of Consciousness", Ned Block claims that the concept of consciousness is best described as a mongrel concept. For Block, the word "consciousness" refers to many different concepts and phenomena that have been bundled together under the one concept. Block suggests that we run into problems when we analyse certain aspects of consciousness using premises that cannot be applied to other aspects of consciousness. In an effort to clear up the confusion associated with reasoning about consciousness, Block breaks consciousness down into several different concepts. In this paper I will be concerned only with what Block calls access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. These two concepts appear to constitute his primary distinction and deserve attention. I will consider David Chalmers' contribution to the issue and will then outline an alternative view offered by Daniel Dennett.

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Brent Silby
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