Archive for April, 2006

Unicorns and Monitoring Theories of Consciousness

Friday, April 21st, 2006

I just finished a draft of a paper and put it up on my website. Comments welcome.

Link: Beware of the Unicorn: Consciousness as Being Represented and Other Things that Don’t Exist

Abstract:
According to monitoring theories of consciousness (including both higher-order representational theories and same-order representational theories), a mental state’s being conscious consists in a mental state’s being represented. I argue that while there is such a property as a state’s being conscious there is no such property as a state’s being represented. I can mentally represent unicorns without their existing. Failing existence, unicorns instantiate no properties, including the so-called property of being represented. Whatever representation amounts to, representing something does not entail the instantiation of the property of being represented. If there is no such property as being represented, then the property of being conscious cannot consist in it. While my primary targets are monitoring theories, I briefly consider whether first-order representational theories might be vulnerable to similar objections. First-order representational theories arguably may be read as holding that the phenomenality of a property consists in its being represented. If there is such a property as being phenomenal but no such property as being represented, then a property’s being phenomenal cannot consist in its being represented.

Unicorn:

I call dibs…

Monday, April 10th, 2006

If ever there is a Philosophy of Guns ‘n’ Roses, its subtitle should be Appetite for Deduction.