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New Essays on the Rationalists$
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Rocco J. Gennaro and Charles Huenemann

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195165411.001.0001

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Leibniz on Consciousness and Self‐Consciousness

Leibniz on Consciousness and Self‐Consciousness

(p.353) 17 Leibniz on Consciousness and Self‐Consciousness
New Essays on the Rationalists

Rocco J. Gennaro (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

“Leibniz on Consciousness and Self‐Consciousness” It is argued that Leibniz held a version of the so‐called “higher‐order thought” (HOT) theory of consciousness. According to this theory, what makes a mental state conscious is that it is accompanied by a thought (or awareness) that one is in that state. For example, in elaborating on his theory of monads, Leibniz explains that an unconscious perception becomes conscious when it is accompanied by an apperception of it. Apperception is best understood as a form of self‐consciousness, and reflection is best understood as a sophisticated form of apperception. With these crucial terminological distinctions in place, it is then argued that treating Leibniz as a HOT theorist can help us understand how he did indeed hold that animals apperceive even if most of them are incapable of sophisticated forms of reflection and rationality.

Keywords:   animals, apperception, consciousness, Rocco Gennaro, higher‐order thought, HOT, Leibniz, monads, perception, rationality, reflection, self‐consciousness

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