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REID ON CONSCIOUSNESS: HOP, HOT OR FOR?

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Abstract:

Abstract

Thomas Reid claims to share Locke's view that consciousness is a kind of inner sense. This is puzzling, given the role the inner-sense theory plays in indirect realism and in the theory of ideas generally. I argue that Reid does not in fact hold an inner-sense theory of consciousness and that his view differs importantly from contemporary higher-order theories of consciousness. For Reid, consciousness is a first-order representational process in which a mental state with a particular content suggests the application of recognitional concepts in forming beliefs or judgements to the effect that one is currently undergoing a state with that content. I take up the question of whether Reid's theory leads to a regress, and I argue that while the regress cannot be eliminated, it is mitigated by the non-hierarchical nature of Reid's theory of mind.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9213.2007.499.x

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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