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The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett$
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Bryce Huebner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199367511.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 May 2021

Is Consciousness a Trick or a Treat?

Is Consciousness a Trick or a Treat?

(p.171) 6.1 Is Consciousness a Trick or a Treat?
The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett

Jesse Prinz

Oxford University Press

Dennett often argues that consciousness is an illusion, which we should aim to explain away. But his debunking claims are rarely met with approval. This paper provides a strategy for demystifying consciousness, while accepting the force of Dennett's critical project. While Dennett is probably wrong to claim that visual imagery is encoded in mental pictures or linguistic descriptions of such pictures, he's probably right that an adequate phenomenology of visual imagery will preserve the content and structure of the representations employed by subpersonal processes. And while conscious experience is richer than Dennett believes, we often think we are experiencing the world in richer detail than we actually are. But attention is at play wherever we find conscious experience. And an account of conscious conscious experience that begins from this fact—Attention to Intermediate-level Representations—suggests a way of naturalizing qualia that even Dennett could learn to love.

Keywords:   consciousness, qualia, attention, mental imagery, Daniel Dennett

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