Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 22, Issue 1, 2022

Sinem Elkatip Hatipoglu
Pages 91-100

Empty Higher Order States in Higher Order Theories of Consciousness

According to higher order (HO) theories of consciousness, a mental state is conscious when there is a HO state about it. However, some HO states do not seem to be about other existing mental states. It is possible to resolve this problem since targetless HO states resemble HO states that misrepresent but the assumption that HO states always target other existing mental states is at odds with the theory since HO states are not only necessary but also sufficient for phenomenal consciousness according to the theory. Given the sufficiency of the HO states for consciousness, there is a need to understand the emergence of HO states as a non-random phenomenon to avoid the difficulties caused by targetless HO states. I suggest it is possible to develop such an understanding by thinking of HO states as predictive states in accordance with the predictive processing theory of the mind.