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A HOROR Theory for Introspective Consciousness

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Higher-order theories of consciousness typically account for introspection in terms of one's higher-order thoughts being conscious, which would require a third-order thought — i.e.a thought about a thought about a mental state. In this work, we offer an alternative account of introspection that builds on the recent HigherOrder Representation of a Representation (HOROR) theory of phenomenal consciousness. According to HOROR theory, phenomenal consciousness consists in having the right kind of higher-order representation. We claim that this theory can be extended to introspection by recognizing that there is a distinctive kind of consciousness — i.e. introspective consciousness — which can be accounted for as the theory does for phenomenal consciousness generally. We call this novel view: Higher-Order Representation Intentionally For Introspective Consciousness (HORIFIC). We argue that there are independent reasons for thinking that introspective consciousness can be either 'stimuli-induced' or 'self-triggered' and that one of the benefits of the view we develop is that it can embrace a pluralist approach. Our view also accounts for what specific mental state is represented by a particular higher-order representation, and for the way in which we are aware of changes, transitions, and boundaries between mental states in specific cases of introspective consciousness.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Philosophy Departments, Saul Kripke Center at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, New York University, New York, USA 2: Humanities Department, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York and MS Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2022

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