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ConsciousnessEssays from a Higher-Order Perspective$
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Peter Carruthers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199277362.001.0001

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Natural Theories of Consciousness

Natural Theories of Consciousness

(p.36) CHAPTER 3 Natural Theories of Consciousness

Peter Carruthers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Works its way through a variety of different accounts of phenomenal consciousness, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each. At the heart of the chapter is an extended critical examination of first-order representational (FOR) theories, of the sort espoused by Dretske and Tye, arguing that they are inferior to higher-order representational (HOR) accounts. Acknowledges as a problem for HOR theories that they might withhold phenomenal consciousness from most other species of animal, but claims that this problem should not be regarded as a serious obstacle to the acceptance of some such theory. Different versions of HOR theory are discussed, and the author’s own account (dual-content theory, here called dispositional higher-order thought theory) is briefly elaborated and defended.

Keywords:   animal consciousness Dretske, dual-content theory, dispositional higher-order thought, higher-order representationalism, first-order representationalism, phenomenal consciousness, Tye

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