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The Consciousness Paradox

Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts

Rocco J. Gennaro

Publication Year: 2011

A defense of a version of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness with special attention to such topics as concepts and animal consciousness.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Consciousness is arguably the most important area within contemporary philosophy of mind, with an explosion of research over the past thirty years from philosophers, psychologists, and scientists.1 Consciousness is also perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the world, and yet it is so very familiar to each of us. Attempts to explain it in neurophysiological or even...

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Chapter 2. In Defense of the HOT Thesis

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pp. 11-38

In this chapter, I begin a defense of the HOT Thesis, namely, that a version of the HOT theory is true and thus a version of reductive representationalism is true. This first involves explaining several flavors of representationalism (sec. 2.1), as well as making a case for a reductionist approach to consciousness (sec. 2.2). In section 2.3, I argue that intentionality is prior...

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Chapter 3. Assessing Three Close Rivals

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pp. 39-54

It would be impossible to attempt to refute all, or even most, philosophical theories of consciousness on offer at the present time. The argument of the previous chapter provides the reader with an overall sense of why I reject a number of other theories, such as any nonrepresentational or nonreductionist theory. In this chapter, however, I wish to argue against three...

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Chapter 4. From HOT Theory to the Wide Intrinsicality View

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pp. 55-102

Having defended reductive representationalism and HOT theory in the previous two chapters, I now motivate and further defend a modified version of the theory, which I have called the wide intrinsicality view, or WIV (Gennaro 1996, 2006a). In section 4.1, I introduce what appears to be a false dilemma invoked by Rosenthal and offer some initial rationale for...

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Chapter 5. Against Self- Representationalism

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pp. 103-134

In the last chapter, we saw the rationale for preferring the WIV to standard HOT theory. In doing so, we noted that the structure of conscious states includes an element of self- reference. One might therefore think that this opens the door to accepting what has come to be known as the “self-representational theory of consciousness,” championed most forcefully today...

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Chapter 6. In Defense of Conceptualism

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pp. 135-184

I have defended the HOT and Hard Theses in previous chapters. I now turn to the Conceptualism Thesis. Conceptualism is roughly the view that the content of perceptual experience is fully determined by concepts possessed by the subject. Exactly what conceptualism is, and therefore what nonconceptual content is, is the main topic of section 6.1. It will also be important...

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Chapter 7. Concept Acquisition and Infant Consciousness

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pp. 185-228

Having established the plausibility of the HOT Thesis and the Conceptual-ism Thesis, it is time to turn our attention to the Acquisition and Infant Theses. This chapter aims to establish that the vast majority of concepts are acquired and that infants are conscious. In doing so, it addresses the issues of innateness and recent work in developmental psychology. Another goal ...

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Chapter 8. Animal Consciousness

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pp. 229-268

In this chapter, I defend the Animals Thesis, which says that most animals are conscious. I also focus mainly on how to reconcile the Animals Thesis with the HOT and Conceptualism Theses, especially since the Animals Thesis, like the Infants Thesis, is widely held. However, some think that animals do not have any concepts. Others have argued that they could not have the...

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Chapter 9. Into the Brain

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pp. 269-304

In this final chapter, I defend the HOT- Brain Thesis, which says that there is a plausible account of how my version of HOT theory might be realized in the brain and can lead to an informative neurophysiological research agenda. Alternatively, HOT theory is related to, and consistent with, a num-ber of leading empirical theories of consciousness. This involves delving ...


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pp. 305-328


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pp. 329-370


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pp. 371-378

E-ISBN-13: 9780262298582
E-ISBN-10: 0262298589
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262016605
Print-ISBN-10: 0262016605

Page Count: 388
Illustrations: 8 B&W illus.
Publication Year: 2011