December 9, 2021

Phenomenal Holism and Cognitive Phenomenology

Latest Results for Erkenntnis


The cognitive phenomenology debate centers on two questions. (1) What is an apt characterization of the phenomenology of conscious thought? And (2), what role does this phenomenology play? I argue that the answers to the former question bear significantly on the answers to the latter question. In particular, I show that conservatism about cognitive phenomenology is not compatible with the view that phenomenology explains the constitution of conscious thought. I proceed as follows: To begin with, I analyze the phenomenology of our sensory experiences and argue for a weak phenomenal holism (WPH) about sensory phenomenology. Next, I explore how WPH can be integrated into the competing accounts of cognitive phenomenology. I argue that, given WPH, conservatism turns out to reduce phenomenal character to a merely concomitant phenomenon that has no explanatory power when it comes to the constitution of conscious thoughts. In contrast, liberalism is explanatorily more powerful in this respect. Finally, I propose a new version of liberalism that explains how phenomenology constitutes conscious thoughts and fits best with WPH.

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