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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Self-Representationalists hold that conscious mental states are conscious in virtue of suitably representing themselves, and that awareness of a mental state is achieved by representing oneself as being in that state. Where Higher-Order Representationalists claim that awareness of a mental state is conferred by a distinct mental state that represents it, Self-Representationalists instead argue that conscious mental states represent themselves. This chapter explores why Self-Representationalists make this move away from Higher-Order Representationalists and describes the internal divisions among Self-Representationalist theories. These divisions concern: whether conscious states have distinguishable components corresponding to their lower-order and higher-order content; whether the higher-order component of a conscious state (if such there is) is itself represented by that state. The challenges faced by Self-Representationalist include: the threat of collapsing into a Higher-Order Representationalist theory; the worry that the proposed self-representing states resist naturalization; and the danger of failing to accommodate the intimate contact we have with our own conscious states.

Keywords: Higher-order theory, self-representationalism, naturalization, consciousness, awareness, reflexivity, transitivity, intimacy

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