Two dogmas of consciousness

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Abstract:

Most recent discussions of phenomenal consciousness are predicated on two deeply entrenched assumptions. The first is objectualism, the claim that what it is like to undergo an experience is something of which we are or can be aware in the having of that experience. The second is internalism, the claim that what it is like to undergo an experience is constituted by states, events and processes that are located inside the skins of experiencing subjects. This paper argues that both assumptions should be rejected. What it is like to undergo an experience is not an object of consciousness but something that exists in the directing of consciousness towards (non-phenomenal) objects. What it is like to undergo an experience is not something of which we are aware, but something in virtue of which we are aware. And there is little reason for supposing that the directing of consciousness towards its objects is something that occurs exclusively inside the skins of experiencing subjects. On the contrary, directing of consciousness towards its objects is often extended, involving acts of worldly probing and exploration.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. Email: mrowlands@philosophy.ucce.ie

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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