Orthogonality of Phenomenality and Content

American Philosophical Quarterly 45 (4):309 - 328 (2008)
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Abstract
This paper presents arguments from empirical research and from philosophical considerations to the effect that phenomenality and content are two distinct and independent features of mental representations, which are both relational. Thus, it is argued, classical arguments that infer phenomenality from content have to be rejected. Likewise, theories that try to explain the phenomenal character of experiences by appeal to specific types of content cannot succeed. Instead, a dynamic view of consciousness has to be adopted that seeks to explain consciousness by certain ways of processing representations. Therefore, only empirical methods that are able to investigate the dynamics of the mind can be used for the “quest for consciousness” proper. Moreover, the central intuitions about consciousness are best explained when phenomenality and content are clearly distinguished.
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