Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science
Online ISSN : 1884-1228
Print ISSN : 0453-0691
ISSN-L : 0453-0691
A Higher-order, Dispositional Theory of Qualia
John O'DEA
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2007 年 15 巻 2 号 p. 81-93

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Higher-order theories of consciousness, such as those of Armstrong, Rosenthal and Lycan, typically distinguish sharply between consciousness and phenomenal character, or qualia. The higher-order states posited by these theories are intended only as explanations of consciousness, and not of qualia. In this paper I argue that the positing of higher-order perceptions may help to explain qualia. If we are realists about qualia, conceived as those intrinsic properties of our experience of which we are introspectibly aware, then higher-order perception might have an explanatory role as the means by which we are aware of these properties. This would also allow us to treat qualia as the inner appearances resulting from inner perceptions, and therefore to treat them as intentional objects.
It is fair to say that “inner sense” theories of consciousness are not widely accepted. Though Lycan (1987, 1996) and Armstrong (1984, 1993) are heavy hitters in their favour, the arguments against are formidable.1 Some are arguments against the very notion of an inner sense, and others are arguments against the inner sense as a theory of consciousness in particular. In this paper I will argue that whether or not inner sense theories of consciousness are viable, it is worth considering an inner sense theory of the introspectible quality of sensory states-that is to say of qualia. An inner sense theory of qualia faces few of the objections to the former, and solves many of the problems associated with the latter; including, I believe, the explanatory gap. Here I introduce a dispositional inner sense theory of qualia.

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