Nature Does Not Yet Say No to Inner Awareness: Reply to Stoljar

Abstract

One of the major divides in contemporary philosophy of consciousness is on whether phenomenal consciousness requires some form of self-consciousness. The disagreement revolves around the following principle (or something in the vicinity):

IA: For any subject S and phenomenally conscious mental state C of S, C is phenomenally conscious only if S is aware of C.

We may call the relevant awareness of one’s own mental states “inner awareness” and the principle “Inner Awareness Principle” (IA). In a paper recently published in this Journal, Stoljar (2021) puts forward a massive theoretical criticism of IA. He addresses many extant arguments for IA, and argues, for each of them, that it is unpersuasive. In this paper, I focus on what strike me as the two most compelling arguments in Stoljar’s list: the argument from memory and the argument from attention. I argue that Stoljar’s objections to them can be rebutted; accordingly, those arguments promise to constitute the steadiest theoretical ground for IA.

May 3, 2022 at 04:15PM

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