Varieties of Representationalism David J. Chalmers Consciousness and
Varieties of Representationalism David J. Chalmers Consciousness and Intentionality Background question: What is the relationship between consciousness and content? between the phenomenal and the intentional? Phenomenal and Representational Properties Phenomenal, representational properties = properties of
subjects (alternatively, mental states). Phenomenal property = property characterizing an aspect of what it is like to be a subject Pure representational property = property of representing suchand-such Impure representational property = property of representing suchand-such in such-and-such a way. Question What is the relationship between phenomenal and represeentational properties?
Are there entailments between these? (Which direction?) Is one class reducible to the other? (Ditto.) Are phenomenal properties identical (or equivalent) to representational properties? Representationalist: yes Antirepresentationalist: no Block: the greatest chasm in the philosophy of mind Entailment I
Do pure representational properties entail phenomenal properties? Plausibly, no. A given content can plausibly be represented unconsciously, without associated phenomenal properties. Weaker tenable theses? Entailment by: Complexes of pure representional properties? Special pure representational properties? Impure representational properties? Entailment II
Do phenomenal properties entail pure representational properties? Plausibly yes - at least for perceptual phenomenal properties. A given perceptual phenomenal state by its nature presents the world as being a certain way, and is thereby assessable for accuracy. Siewert, Horgan/Tienson, Loar, Byrne, Identity I Are phenomenal properties identical (or equivalent) to pure representational properties?
Plausibly no, because of failure of reverse entailment due to unconscious representation (see Entailment I). Only possibility: special contents that cannot be nonphenomenally represented. Identity II Are (perceptual) phenomenal properties identical (or equivalent) to impure representational properties? Plausibly yes, if the way distinguishes conscious/unconscious representation
E.g.: phenomenal property P <-> phenomenally representing such-and-such or visually-phenomenally representing such-and-such This requires that distinct phenomenal properties (or distinct visual phenomenal properties) entail distinct pure representational properties Representationalism Representationalism: phenomenal property <-> representing such-and-such in such-and-such a way Reductive representationalism: terms on right-hand-side can be understood without appeal to the phenomenal
Nonreductive representationalism: terms on right-hand-side cannot be understood without appeal to the phenomenal. Functionalist Representationalism Functionalist representationalism (Tye, etc): RHS terms can be understood in (broadly) causal/functional terms Amounts to a sort of functionalism about the phenomenal/nonphenomenal distinction
such-and-such way = under an appropriate functional role (global availability, etc) Most arguments for these views are really arguments for the representationalist aspect, not the functionalist aspect. Standard objections to functionalism about the phenomenal apply. So the good reasons to accept representationalism do not obviously yield good reasons to accept reductive representationalism. Nonreductive Representationalism Phenomenal property <-> Phenomenally representing content C or: visually-phenomenally representing C. Further: content C may also presuppose the phenomenal
Cf. projectivism, Shoemaker, Stoljar P-representing object as having quale Q P-representing object as disposed to cause quale Q. If so: doubly nonreductive representationalism? Internalist and Externalist Representationalism Phenomenal properties are often thought to be narrow Representational properties are often thought to be wide
Reactions: (i) deny representationalism (Block) (ii) hold that phenomenal properties are wide (Lycan, Dretske) (iii) hold that the relevant representational properties are narrow. (ii) = externalist representationalism (iii) = internalist representationalism Russellian (Extensional)
Representationalism Russellian (extensional) representationalism: the relevant representational contents are extensional (referential) contents. Typically: properties attributed by experiences Standard representationalism: (e.g.) color properties Shoemaker: dispositional properties Extensional representational properties are typically wide properties -> externalist representationalism. Shoemakers view allows narrow properties, but with costs re
attribution of colors by experiences. Fregean (Intensional) Representationalism Fregean (intensional) representationalism: the relevant representational contents are intensional (Fregean) contents In the domain of senses/modes of presentation rather than extension. E.g. Fregean content = condition on extension Cf. Hesperus: morning star (intension), Venus (extension) quasi-descriptive condition, mirroring cognitive role
Argued elsewhere: all beliefs, perceptual states have Fregean (epistemic) contents Maybe: phenomenal property = representing such-and-such Fregean content in such-and-such a way. Phenomenal properties = (in effect) modes of presentation of extensions Example E.g. red experience: extensional content (property attributed): red intensional content (condition on property attributed) = the property that
typically causes phenomenally red experiences So: the experience attributes (non-dispositional) colors, under a dispositional mode of presentation (cf. Shoemaker) Phenomenal contents are mode-of-presentation contents. Compatible with transparency: one always attends to modes of presentation by attending to referents. Summary Phenomenal property = representing content C in manner M
Pure [manner = phenomenal] vs. impure [manner = phenomenal+] Reductive [manner functionally reducible] vs nonreductive [not] Extensional [Russellian content] vs intensional [Fregean content] Externalist [wide content] vs internalist [narrow content] Reductive [content is phenomenal-involving] vs nonreductive [not] My view: impure, (doubly) nonreductive, intensional, internalist representationalism.
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