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The Consciousness ParadoxConsciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts$
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Rocco J. Gennaro

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016605

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016605.001.0001

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Against Self-Representationalism

Against Self-Representationalism

(p.103) 5 Against Self-Representationalism
The Consciousness Paradox

Rocco J. Gennaro

The MIT Press

This chapter argues against Uriah Kriegel’s “self-representational theory of consciousness,” which states that the structure of conscious states includes an element of self-reference. This self-referential or self- epresentational aspect of conscious mental states goes back to Aristotle and Franz Brentano, who argued that “every mental act includes within it a consciousness of itself. Therefore, every mental act, no matter how simple, has a double object, a primary and secondary object.” Three views are discussed in detail in this chapter: First, Brentano’s “pure self-referentialism,” which states that a conscious mental state is literally directed back at Itself, is criticized. Second, the chapter examines whether peripheral self-directed awareness accompanies all conscious states or not. Finally, responses are addressed to arguments presented in support of Kriegel’s view of self-representation.

Keywords:   self-representational theory of consciousness, Uriah Kriegel, conscious mental states, Aristotle, Franz Brentano, self-directed awareness

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