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Ideas of U Kriegel / K Williford, by Text

[American, fl. 2006, At Arizona and St Cloud Universities.]

2006 Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness'
Intro p.1 Consciousness is reductively explained either by how it represents, or how it is represented
     Full Idea: The two main competitors for reductive theories of consciousness are the representational theory (conscious if it represents in the right way), and higher-order monitoring (conscious if it is represented in the right way).
     From: U Kriegel / K Williford (Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' [2006], Intro)
     A reaction: Presumably there are also neuroscientists hunting for physical functions which might generate consciousness. The two mentioned here are rivals at one level of discourse. Both views may be simplistic, if complex teams of activities are involved.
1 p.2 Experiences can be represented consciously or unconsciously, so representation won't explain consciousness
     Full Idea: On the assumption that any environmental feature can be represented either consciously or unconsciously, it is unclear how the mere representation of such a feature can render the representing state conscious.
     From: U Kriegel / K Williford (Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' [2006], 1)
     A reaction: The authors are rejecting simple representation as the key, in favour of a distinctive sort of self-representation. I'm inclined to think that consciousness results from multiple co-ordinated layers of representation etc., which has no simple account.
1 p.2 Red tomato experiences are conscious if the state represents the tomato and itself
     Full Idea: The self-representational theory of consciousness says that when one has a conscious experience as of a red tomato, one is in an internal state that represents both a red tomato and itself.
     From: U Kriegel / K Williford (Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' [2006], 1)
     A reaction: This seems to be avoiding the concept of 'higher-order', and yet that seems the only way to describe it - thought steps outside of itself, generating a level of meta-thought. I think that's the way to go. Philosophy is about-fifth level.
1 p.2 Unfortunately, higher-order representations could involve error
     Full Idea: A problem for explaining consciousness by higher-order representations is that, like their first-order counterparts, they can misrepresent; there could be a subjective impression of being in a conscious state without actually being in any conscious state.
     From: U Kriegel / K Williford (Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' [2006], 1)
     A reaction: It sounds plausible that this is a logical possibility, but how do you assess whether it is an actual or natural possibility? Are we saying that higher-order representations are judgments, which could be true or false? Hm.
3 p.4 How is self-representation possible, does it produce a regress, and is experience like that?
     Full Idea: The difficulties with a self-representational view of consciousness are how self-representation of mental states could be possible, whether it leads to an infinite regress, and whether it can capture the actual phenomenology of experience.
     From: U Kriegel / K Williford (Intro to 'Self-Representational Consciousness' [2006], 3)
     A reaction: [compressed] All of these objections strike me as persuasive, especially the first one. I'm not sure I know what self-representation is. Mirrors externally represent, and they can't represent themselves. Two mirrors together achieve something..