Me, reading my Papers

So, as an experiment, I thought I would try recording a rehersal run through of my powerpoint presentation and see if people are more willing to listen to a paper than to read it…any feedback is welcome!

Consciousness, (Higher-Order) Thoughts, and What It’s Like

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9 thoughts on “Me, reading my Papers

  1. I just finished reading/listening the power point presentation. Thank you for creating that, must have been lot of work!

    Don’t have lot to say (probably because I’m not into representational theories in general), but your argument seems fine, and also I agree that 1)one can have pain that one is unconscious of and 2)that thoughts have what-is-it-like to have a thought aspect when we are conscious of them. The connection between that aspect and the illocutionary force of the utterance is also very interesting.

  2. Hi Tanasije, Thanks! It wasn’t actually that hard at all (once the powerpoint presentation is made, that is…but I was already doing that for an upcomming conference)…

    Yeah, I don’t know if I am really up for them either, my main goal is to show that people who are up for them are committed to certain claims that they do not realize.

    Out of curiosity, do you also agree that a pain that you are unconscious of is one that there is nothing that it is like for you to have?

  3. Maybe I misunderstood your question.

    What I meant is that I might have pain in my finger, but not feel it.
    Same as there might be some object in front of me, but occluded by some other object, and I will not see it.

  4. Hi Richard,

    I don’t think that such position necessary implies representationalism. I hope it will be OK with me pasting part of the explanation that I used in one post on my blog:

    First to start negatively – this position isn’t representationalism – it doesn’t say that experience represents the world as being somehow, nor for that matter that there is veridical and falsidical experiences which would depend on the issue if the experience represents the world as it is, or not. Even less it is qualia (or sense-data) view. It is negated that any such thing as “phenomenal seeming”, in any sense in which it might remind of Cartesian theater.

    Instead in this view the objects in the world are constituents of the appearance (or experience). However the appearance is also constituted not just by those objects and their characteristics (towards which e.g. the seeing is directed) but also by the act of perception, and the characteristics of that act (e.g. the presence of fog, the distance from the object, the angle, subject wearing glasses, and so on).

    So, according to this there are no mental states at all which represent the objects of our perception and which would somehow give rise to the phenomenon of “phenomenal experience”. Instead the “experience” and “appearance” is to be read as something not in the head, but constituted by the objects and their characteristics.

  5. Yep it’s OK, though I have read that before (didn’t really understand it then either, though)…I just don’t see how this kind of view doesn’t fly in the face of all of brain science…for instance you say that you can have a pain in your finger and yet not feel it, but we know that there are no pains in fingers, pain is in the brain (as evidenced by phantom limb pain) so to have a pain in the finger is to be in a mental state that represents the pain as being somewhere. How do you avoid this conslusion?

    Also there is the obvious problem of dreams and hallucinations. I know you have addressed this issue, arguing that it is the imagination that has somethig to do with it, but this answer is no good because we know from brain imaging studies that when you dream about things the actual visual cortex is active but this is not the case for imagining. We also know that we can stimulate the visual cortex directly and generate visual experiences in the absence of objects, so how can objects themselves be the constituents of experiences if we can have experiences in the absence of objects?

    Lastly, what I (partially) meant was that you seem to be endorsing a kind of higher-order view of consciousness in that you think that there are pains that are unfelt and that when one is conscious of those pains they will be felt

    But at any rate, itcertainly seems as though you endorse the transitivity principle

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