Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Yeditepe by Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Sehir) on “Consciousness and Misrepresentation” (21/03/2014)

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YEDITEPE UNIVERSITY COGNITIVE SCIENCE SEMINARS (SPRING 2014)

“Consciousness and Misrepresentation”

by Assist. Prof. Dr. Sinem Elkatip Hatipoğlu (Şehir University), on March 21, at 16.00, in Law Building Room 332.

Abstract: No one denies that we humans differ significantly from what one might call our cognitive relatives, i.e. complex machines such as robots or other forms of living beings. However what marks the difference is difficult to pin down. Consciousness has been taken to be one of the best candidates to account for this difference but an account of consciousness is just as difficult to give. In this talk I focus on one particular theory of consciousness, viz. the higher-order theory of consciousness and a troubling aspect of this theory. Higher-order theories assert that a mental state is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of that mental state. For instance the perception of a blue chair is conscious when there is a higher-order representation of the perception. But since representations are not infallible, higher-order theorists embrace the possibility of having a conscious perception of a blue chair where there is a perception of a red chair or even where there is no perception. The former is usually called a misrepresentation and the latter radical misrepresentation. Even though higher-order theories have many virtues, I suggest that the possibility of a radical misrepresentation undermines some of those virtues. As such either the possibility of a radical misrepresentation needs to be denied or the phenomenon of a radical misrepresentation needs to be understood in a different way.

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

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