The Reflexive Nature of Consciousness

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Combining phenomenological insights from Brentano and Sartre, but also drawing on recent work on consciousness by analytic philosophers, this book defends the view that conscious states are reflexive, and necessarily so, i.e., that they have a built-in, “implicit” awareness of their own occurrence, such that the subject of a conscious state has an immediate, non-objectual acquaintance with it. As part of this investigation, the book also explores the relationship between reflexivity and the phenomenal, or “what-it-is-like,” dimension of conscious experience, defending the innovative thesis that phenomenal character is constituted by the implicit self-awareness built into every conscious state. This account stands in marked contrast to most influential extant theories of phenomenal character, including qualia theories, according to which phenomenal character is a matter of having phenomenal sensations, and representationalism, according to which phenomenal character is constituted by representational content. (Series A)

Subjects: Philosophy; Consciousness research

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Calgary

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