Issue 61, March 2021
Jerry J. Yang
A Response to Rosenthal’s Arguments against the Intrinsic View of Consciousness
Rosenthal argues that if consciousness is seen as intrinsic, it will appear to be simple and unanalyzable, and therefore not amenable to scientific explanation, which requires a relational structure involving an extrinsic property of the mind. I shall first criticize Rosenthal's argument against intrinsicalism by way of conceptual analysis. I shall then examine three of his arguments against the intrinsic view of consciousness: the argument from the distinction between transitive and intransitive consciousness, the argument from reporting and expressing, and the argument of the individuation of mental states. I suggest that the content of a mental state can be considered to be an information space, which will allow for an explanation of consciousness. My rejection of Rosenthal's position relies on distinguishing two different forms of intrinsicalism: with and without self-representation. We shall find that both versions have explanatory traction from a naturalistic perspective.