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By David Rosenthal

David Rosenthal is without doubt one of the major individuals to the philosophical examine of recognition. This quantity gathers jointly his paintings at the topic from the previous twenty years, and represents the definitive presentation of his influential concept of cognizance as higher-order idea. of the essays look the following for the 1st time; there's additionally a considerable new creation, drawing out the connections among the essays and highlighting their implications.

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For this kind of mark will stress the sharp contrast between mental and physical, and play down the differences among types of mental state compared to how different all mental states are from everything else. In this spirit, Descartes takes nonperceptual, propositional states to be the paradigm of the mental and, notoriously, has great difficulty in explaining how perception can involve both mental and bodily states. Although both marks of the mental have enjoyed widespread acceptance, it is crucial which mark we adopt if our goal is to give an explanation of consciousness.

It is natural to hold that being aware of something means having a thought about it, not taking pleasure in it. And one can take pleasure in something without knowing what it is that gives one pleasure. One may have no idea why one feels good, or be mistaken about why. One may even be unaware of feeling good at all if one is sufficiently distracted or other factors interfere. So taking pleasure in something is compatible with being unaware of that thing. Such considerations also apply to putative counterexamples based on other sorts of higher-order mental states.

7 But there are several difficulties with such a dispositional account. For one thing, the consciousness of mental states is phenomenologically occurrent. Since consciousness does not appear to be dispositional, it is ad hoc simply to posit a disposition that comes and goes as needed. We cannot, of course, save all the phenomenological appearances, but we should prefer to do so when we can. Moreover, it is unclear what explanatory work a disposition to have a higher-order thought would do, except when one actually had that thought, and the disposition would then be superfluous.

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