Consciousness and Mind by David Rosenthal

By David Rosenthal

David Rosenthal is likely one of the best individuals to the philosophical research of cognizance. This quantity gathers jointly his paintings at the topic from the prior 20 years, and represents the definitive presentation of his influential idea of awareness as higher-order idea. of the essays seem the following for the 1st time; there's additionally a considerable new creation, drawing out the connections among the essays and highlighting their implications.

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146). 20 This restricted thesis would still allow one to explain consciousness in terms of higher-order thoughts; no regress would arise, because then those thoughts could themselves be nonconscious. But the Cartesian view holds not only that all mental states are conscious, but also that consciousness is an intrinsic property of mental states.

The sense that there is something reflexive about the consciousness of mental states is thus not due to the conscious state’s being directed upon itself, as is often supposed. Rather, it is the higher-order thought that confers such consciousness that is actually self-directed. The foregoing objections have all challenged whether an account based on higherorder thoughts can do justice to various ways we think about consciousness. But one might also question whether higher-order thoughts are enough to make mental states conscious.

If consciousness is already built into mentality, any such explanation will be uninformative. If not, then, on the present view, the conception of mind on which our explanation of consciousness is based will unavoidably be radically defective. It is plain that there is no third way; nothing that is not mental can help to explain consciousness. So, if consciousness is essential to mentality, no informative, nontrivial explanation of consciousness is possible at all. Moreover, since we cannot then proceed sequentially, explaining mentality first and then consciousness, the gulf that seems to separate mind and consciousness from the rest of reality will appear impossible to bridge.

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