Contemplating Consciousness

What Is Consciousness?

Philosophers have used the term ‘consciousness’ for four main topics: knowledge in general, intentionality, introspection (and the knowledge it specifically generates) and phenomenal experience.

Something within one’s mind is ‘introspectively conscious’ just in case one introspects it (or is poised to do so).

Introspection is often thought to deliver one’s primary knowledge of one’s mental life.

An experience or other mental entity is ‘phenomenally conscious’ just in case there is ‘something it is like’ for one to have it.

The clearest examples are: perceptual experience, such as tastings and seeings; bodily-sensational experiences, such as those of pains, tickles and itches; imaginative experiences, such as those of one’s own actions or perceptions; and streams of thought, as in the experience of thinking ‘in words’ or ‘in images’.

Introspection and phenomenality seem independent, or dissociable, although this is controversial.

What do you think?

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