Consciousness and Mind by David Rosenthal

By David Rosenthal

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Finally, the characteristically mental differences among kinds of mental states are all differences in what intentional or sensory properties those states have. So those properties may seem to figure more naturally in an account of how we distinguish among types of mental state than in an account of how mental states differ from everything else. These various considerations all suggest that an account of mind in terms of consciousness may be preferable to an account that appeals to intentionality and phenomenal character.

Herbert Feigl, Michael Scriven, and Grover Maxwell, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958, pp. 521–539, at p. 533. In ‘‘Intentionality,’’ ch. 3 in this volume, I argue that this claim is defensible if it is construed in strictly causal terms. Two Concepts of Consciousness 25 or sensory character, but consciousness itself. Moreover, if we take the possession of either sensory or intentional properties to be definitive of the mental, we must then explain why we regard this disjunctive mark as determining the mental.

That this conception prevents us from explaining consciousness in any useful way is the most compelling reason we can have for adopting, instead, a non-Cartesian mark of the mental. But there are other reasons as well to prefer a non-Cartesian mark. For one thing, it is impossible to conceive of a mental state, whether or not it is conscious, that lacks both intentional and sensory properties. So, even though it may not always be easy to imagine one’s being in a mental state that is not conscious, intentional and sensory properties are evidently more central to our concept of a mental state than consciousness is.

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