The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts

The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts

by Rocco J. Gennaro

Hardcover

$18.46 $19.75 Save 7% Current price is $18.46, Original price is $19.75. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 1 week

Overview

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.

Consciousness is arguably the most important area within contemporary philosophy of mind and perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the world. Despite an explosion of research from philosophers, psychologists, and scientists, attempts to explain consciousness in neurophysiological, or even cognitive, terms are often met with great resistance. In The Consciousness Paradox , Rocco Gennaro aims to solve an underlying paradox, namely, how it is possible to hold a number of seemingly inconsistent views, including higher-order thought (HOT) theory, conceptualism, infant and animal consciousness, concept acquisition, and what he calls the HOT-brain thesis. He defends and further develops a metapsychological reductive representational theory of consciousness and applies it to several importantly related problems. Gennaro proposes a version of the HOT theory of consciousness that he calls the "wide intrinsicality view" and shows why it is superior to various alternatives, such as self-representationalism and first-order representationalism. HOT theory says that what makes a mental state conscious is that a suitable higher-order thought is directed at that mental state.

Thus Gennaro argues for an overall philosophical theory of consciousness while applying it to other significant issues not usually addressed in the philosophical literature on consciousness. Most cognitive science and empirical works on such topics as concepts and animal consciousness do not address central philosophical theories of consciousness. Gennaro's integration of empirical and philosophical concerns will make his argument of interest to both philosophers and nonphilosophers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262016605
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/18/2011
Series: Representation and Mind series
Pages: 388
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rocco J. Gennaro is Professor and Department Chair of Philosophy at the University of Southern Indiana and the author of The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts (MIT Press).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction 1

1.1 The Problem 1

1.2 The Plan 3

1.3 Some Terminology and Distinctions 5

2 In Defense of the HOT Thesis 11

2.1 Varieties of Representationalism 11

2.2 Defending Reductive Representationalism 15

2.3 Consciousness and Intentionality 21

2.4 HOT Theory: An Initial Defense 28

2.5 More on Mental Content 33

3 Assessing Three Close Rivals 39

3.1 First-Order Representationalism (FOR) 39

3.2 Dual-Content Theory 45

3.3 Higher-Order Perception (HOP) Theory 49

4 From HOT Theory to the Wide Intrinsicality View 55

4.1 A False Dilemma 55

4.2 Misrepresentation: A First Pass 59

4.3 The Problem of the Rock 70

4.4 The Hard Problem of Consciousness 75

4.5 Objections and Replies 88

5 Against Self-Representationalism 103

5.1 Three Views of State Consciousness 104

5.2 Against Pure Self-Referentialism 104

5.3 Another Approach: Peripheral Awareness 116

5.4 Three More Attempts and a Counterargument 126

6 In Defense of Conceptualism 135

6.1 What Is Conceptualism? 135

6.2 HOT Theory and Conceptualism 147

6.3 The Richness of Conscious Experience 161

6.4 Fineness of Grain 173

7 Concept Acquisition and Infant Consciousness 185

7.1 The Real Hard Problem 185

7.2 Innatenes 186

7.3 Concept Acquisition 199

7.4 Conceptualism and Concept Acquisition 210

7.5 HOT Theory and infant Consciousness 219

8 Animal Consciousness 229

8.1 Carruthers, Animals, and HOT Theory 229

8.2 Animals and !-Thoughts 237

8.3 Lloyd Morgan's Canon and Parsimony 252

8.4 An Aside on Autism 257

8.5 Animals and Conceptualism: The Continuity Argument 262

9 Into the Brain 269

9.1 The Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCCs) 269

9.2 How Global Is HOT Theory? 276

9.3 Parts, Wholes, and Feedback Loops 282

9.4 The Binding Problem and the Unity of Consciousness 291

9.5 Conclusion of the Book 302

Notes 305

References 329

Index 371

What People are Saying About This

William G. Lycan

Rocco Gennaro develops and ramifies his distinctive 'wide intrinsicality view' to excellent effect, defends it against the toughest objections, and rebuts his closest competitors. Further, he provides a novel argument for conceptualism regarding perceptual content and relates it to recent work in cognitive and brain science—on concept acquisition, animal cognition, autism, NCCs, and the binding problem.

Christopher Hill

The Consciousness Paradox is an engaging and provocative book! As is widely recognized, there is a form of consciousness that mental states have when their subjects are directly and non-inferentially aware of them. Rocco Gennaro develops a distinctive and appealing account of this form of consciousness and maintains that all other forms, including the elusive phenomenal consciousness, are reducible to it without remainder. Gennaro's arguments also throw light on a range of important topics, including the grain of conscious experience, the nature of concepts, infant consciousness, and animal consciousness.

Endorsement

The Consciousness Paradox is an engaging and provocative book! As is widely recognized, there is a form of consciousness that mental states have when their subjects are directly and non-inferentially aware of them. Rocco Gennaro develops a distinctive and appealing account of this form of consciousness and maintains that all other forms, including the elusive phenomenal consciousness, are reducible to it without remainder. Gennaro's arguments also throw light on a range of important topics, including the grain of conscious experience, the nature of concepts, infant consciousness, and animal consciousness.

Christopher Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University

From the Publisher

Simply put, The Consciousness Paradox offers the best contemporary defense of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness to date. With his distinctive clear style and rigorous argumentation, Gennaro deftly demonstrates how his own unique HOT theory presents the best hope of solving the apparent paradox of consciousness. Richly argued and empirically well informed on issues ranging from animal and infant metacognition to the most recent findings in neuroscience, The Consciousness Paradox is an absolute most-read for any serious philosopher or researcher interested in the discovering the truth about the nature and distribution of consciousness.

Robert W. Lurz , Professor of Philosophy, Brooklyn College, CUNY, and author of Mindreading Animals

Rocco Gennaro develops and ramifies his distinctive 'wide intrinsicality view' to excellent effect, defends it against the toughest objections, and rebuts his closest competitors. Further, he provides a novel argument for conceptualism regarding perceptual content and relates it to recent work in cognitive and brain science—on concept acquisition, animal cognition, autism, NCCs, and the binding problem.

William G. Lycan , University of North Carolina

The Consciousness Paradox is an engaging and provocative book! As is widely recognized, there is a form of consciousness that mental states have when their subjects are directly and non-inferentially aware of them. Rocco Gennaro develops a distinctive and appealing account of this form of consciousness and maintains that all other forms, including the elusive phenomenal consciousness, are reducible to it without remainder. Gennaro's arguments also throw light on a range of important topics, including the grain of conscious experience, the nature of concepts, infant consciousness, and animal consciousness.

Christopher Hill , Department of Philosophy, Brown University

Robert W. Lurz

Simply put, The Consciousness Paradox offers the best contemporary defense of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness to date. With his distinctive clear style and rigorous argumentation, Gennaro deftly demonstrates how his own unique HOT theory presents the best hope of solving the apparent paradox of consciousness. Richly argued and empirically well informed on issues ranging from animal and infant metacognition to the most recent findings in neuroscience, The Consciousness Paradox is an absolute most-read for any serious philosopher or researcher interested in the discovering the truth about the nature and distribution of consciousness.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews