Miguel Ángel Sebastián, "First person representation in experience"
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ILCLI Open Seminar
Institute for Logic, Cognition, Language and Information (ILCLI)
Friday, January 11th, 2019
Venue: Carlos Santamaria Zentroa, Room A2.
First Person Representation in Experience: Core de se representations as an explanation of the subjective aspect constitutive of conscious experiences.
Miguel Ángel Sebastián (UNAM)
According to representationalism, phenomenally conscious states (PCSs) are representational states. Representationalism offers an interesting prospect in the project of naturalizing consciousness on the assumption that representation can itself be naturalized. Unfortunately, not all representational states are PCSs. If representationalism is to succeed, the difference with non-PCSs should better be a representational difference, a difference in adequacy conditions.
I argue that in order to look for such a difference we should focus on what the experience conveys over and above the primary object of experience. The candidates in the literature are the subject of experience as such and the experience itself. I argue that the experience concerns the former but not the later and spell out in what sense the subject is concerned experience: PCSs are core de se representational states. This explains the perspectival nature of experience, accommodate the phenomenological observation, and can straightforwardly explain the mistake made by those who, like Hume, have called this feature into question. On the downside, current naturalistic theories of mental content cannot characterize such representational states, thereby jeopardizing the naturalistic prospect.