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(1999) Consciousness and intentionality, Dordrecht, Springer.

State consciousness revisited

Pierre Jacob

pp. 9-32

My goal in this paper is to defend the so-called "higher-order thought" theory of conscious mental states, which has been presented in various places by Rosenthal (1986, 1990, 1993, 1994), from a pair of objections recently advanced by Dretske (1993; 1995). According to the version of the "higherorder thought" (henceforth HOT) theory of conscious states which I have in mind, none of my mental states will be a conscious state unless I am conscious of it. The intuition behind this view— which I find appealing — is that a mental state of which a person is completely unaware counts as a non-conscious (or unconscious) mental state. I think that some of the intuitions underlying Dretske's views can be reconciled with an amended version of the HOT theory. In particular, I will recommend the incorporation into the HOT theory of the concept of a state of consciousness intermediary between the concept of creature consciousness and the concept of state consciousness (or the notion of a conscious state).2 Before, however, I defend the amended version of the HOT theory of conscious states against Dretske" s attack, I want to say a word of the representationalist approach to consciousness according to which some of the mysteries of consciousness might be unraveled by a prior account of intentionality.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9193-5_1

Full citation:

Jacob, P. (1999)., State consciousness revisited, in D. Fisette (ed.), Consciousness and intentionality, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 9-32.

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