Manson, Neil C. (2002) What does language tell us about consciousness? First-person mental discourse and higher-order thought theories of consciousness. Philosophical Psychology, 15 (3). pp. 221-238. ISSN 1465-394XFull text not available from this repository.
The fact that we can engage in first-person discourse about our own mental states seems, intuitively, to be bound up with consciousness. David Rosenthal draws upon this intuition in arguing for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness. Rosenthalâ��s argument relies upon the assumption that the truth-conditions for â��pâ�� and â��I think that pâ�� differ. It is argued here that the truth-conditional schema debars â��I thinkâ�� from playing one of its (expressive) roles and thus is not a good test for what is asserted when â��I thinkâ�� is employed in making an assertoric utterance. The critique of Rosenthalâ��s argument allows us to make explicit the intuitions which shape higher-order representation theories of consciousness in general. Consciousness and first-person mental discourse seem to be connected primarily because consciousness is (and was) an epistemic term, used to denote first-person knowledge of minds. Higher-order thought theories of consciousness draw upon this epistemic notion of consciousness, and because self-knowledge seems to involve higher-order representation, the higher-order theorist can deploy what is in effect an â��error theoryâ�� about conscious experience disguised as a kind of conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of a conscious mental state. The conclusion reached is that there is unlikely to be a simple or direct path from considerations about mental discourse to conclusions about the nature of consciousness.
|Journal or Publication Title:||Philosophical Psychology|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||consciousness ; higher-order thought ; Moore's paradox ; Rosenthal ; David M ; epistemic consciousness|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)|
|Departments:||Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations (Merged into PPR 2010-08-01)|
|Deposited By:||Dr Neil C Manson|
|Deposited On:||01 Jun 2007|
|Last Modified:||09 Dec 2016 02:04|
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