Southwest Philosophy Review

Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2012

David Miguel Gray
Pages 155-163

Keeping up Appearances?

David Rosenthal and Josh Weisberg have recently provided a counter argument to Ned Block’s argument that a Higher Order Thought (HOT) theory of consciousness cannot accommodate the existence of hallucinatory conscious states (i.e. a conscious episode consisting of a HOT without the presence of a relevant lower order thought). Their counter argument invokes the idea of mental appearances: a non-existent intentional object which is to aid in an account of subjective conscious awareness. I argue that if mental appearances are to do the work they are supposed to, we cannot draw a mental appearance/reality distinction. I provide an alternative story that a HOT theorist can invoke to account for cases of conscious misrepresentation. Such a story will require denying the existence of hallucinatory conscious states while still accounting for conscious misrepresentation. This is a cost I believe the HOT theorist should be willing to pay.