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A Seeming Problem for Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness

  • JESSE M. MULDER (a1)

Abstract

Higher-order theories account for intransitive consciousness by using the transitive notion ‘awareness-of.’ I argue that this notion implies a form of ‘seeming’ that the higher-order approach requires, yet cannot account for. I show that, if the relevant kind of seeming is declared to be present in all representational states, the seeming in question is objectionably trivialized; while using the higher-order strategy to capture not only intransitive consciousness but also the relevant kind of seeming results in an infinite regress. Finally, highlighting distinctive features of representations that explain why they display seeming amounts to abandoning the higher-order approach altogether.

Les théories d’ordre supérieur expliquent la conscience intransitive en utilisant la notion transitive de «conscience-de». Je soutiens que cette notion implique une forme d’«apparent» que l’approche d’ordre supérieur exige, mais ne peut expliquer. Je montre que si le type pertinent d’«apparent» est présent dans toutes les représentations, l’«apparent» en question est banalisé d’une façon inacceptable. En revanche, utiliser la stratégie d’ordre supérieur pour expliquer non seulement la conscience intransitive, mais aussi l’«apparent» pertinent résulte en une régression infinie. Enfin, souligner les caractéristiques distinctives des représentations qui expliquent pourquoi elles manifestent de l’«apparent» revient à abandonner totalement l’approche d’ordre supérieur.

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A Seeming Problem for Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness

  • JESSE M. MULDER (a1)

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