I turn now to consider egocentric contents. Unlike the points made in the previous post concerning conceptualized contents, the relevant points about egocentric contents cannot be made in terms of my similarities to any numerically distinct entities. I assume that whatever egocentric contents are, numerically distinct entities capable of having egocentric contents, have contents concerning different entities. Thus no matter how similar to me a being is that is nonetheless numerically distinct from me, it will still be thinking about itself, not me, when it thinks the thoughts it expresses with the first-person pronoun. Thus the relevant question to ask is not whether my physical doppelganger must have the same egocentric contents as me (it can’t) but whether fixing my physical properties fixes my egocentric contents.
A positive response to this question is quite natural. Further, it is not one that should ignite much controversy. Even people who think that phenomenal consciousness is non-physical can grant that fixing my physical properties fixes my egocentric contents since egocentric contents seem not to alone suffice for phenomenal consciousness. Consider, in connection with this, that visual form agnosics can fail to be phenomenally conscious of the shape and orientation of objects, yet still, based on unconscious visual information, orient their body parts appropriately to, e.g use their hand to insert a card into a slot (Milner & Goodale, 1995). Arguably the unconscious information relied on concerns egocentric spatial contents. Additionally, while the neural activations in LGN mentioned previously have egocentric content, few take seriously the proposal that such sub-cortical neural activations suffice for phenomenal consciousness. Fewer still take seriously the thought that neural activations in LGN would be non-physical.
Now, dualists might object along lines discussed in the previous post that at least some egocentric content is non-physical insofar as direct phenomenal concepts have egocentric contents concerning non-physical qualia. But as this is essentially the same objection as already discussed, it will receive the same treatment as previously mentioned. I’ll say nothing further on the matter here.
The question naturally arises of which conceptualized egocentric contents fix phenomenal character. Do all of them? If only some of them do, which ones? It is worth noting that nothing particularly precise need be spelled out for the argument to go through. This is because, whatever conceptualized egocentric contents are the ones that constitute phenomenal character, if the remarks from earlier in this section are correct, then the appropriate conceptualized egocentric contents will be fixed by my physical properties because all of my conceptualized egocentric contents will be fixed by my physical properties.
1. Introducing Transcending Zombies
2. Anti-Skeptical Maneuvers
3. I Know I’m Not a Zombie
4. Some Remarks on Phenomenal Knowledge
5. The Egocentricity of Phenomenal Knowledge
6. The Knowing and the Known
7. My Physical Properties Fix My Conceptualized Contents