Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Consciousness, philosophy: The experience of differences along with a freedom of choice as opposed to purely automatic responses. See also intentionality, identity theory, other minds.
Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Block, Ned
Books on Amazon
Consciousness Metzinger II 458
Consciousness/Block: is a mixed concept of "phenomenal consciousness" (P consciousness/terminology) and "access consciousness" (Z consciousness).
Def Z Consciousness/Terminology/Block: Being aware of a fact z means that the information for rational inferring is available. (Functional concept)
Consciousness/Burge: (VsBlock): P consciousness Prerequisite for Z Consciousness.
Phenomenality is not the same as consciousness! Phenomenal states can also be unconscious.
II 524
Blindsight/Block: Patients who cannot see in part of their visual field can still give true verbal descriptions upon request.
      This suggests that consciousness must have a function that is effective in survival, reporting, and behavioral control.
II 530
Access Awareness/Block: I call its basis the information-processing function of the phenomenal consciousness in >Schacter's model. (s) part or basis as a counterpart).
II 531
Def P Consciousness/Phenomenal Consciousness/Block: experience. It cannot be described non-circularly! But that's no shortcoming!
P-conscious properties are distinguished from any cognitive, intentional, or functional property. Although functionalism is wrong with respect to P consciousness, functionalism can accept many of my points.
II 535
Def Z Consciousness/Access Consciousness/Block: a state is z conscious if by virtue of being in the state a representation of its content
1) is inferentially unbound, i.e. is available as a premise for considering
2) is available for rational control of actions
3) is available for rational language control (not necessary, even chimpanzees can be p conscious).
      P consciousness and Z consciousness interact: Background can become foreground. E.g. feeling the shirt feels at the neck.
Fallacy/Block: it is a mistake, however, to go unnoticed from one consciousness to the other.
Mistake: To conclude from the example blindsight that it is the function of the P consciousness to enable rational control of action.
P Consciousness/Block: not functional! Sensations.
Z Consciousness/Block: functional. Typical: "propositional attitudes".
Pain/Block: its representational content is too primitive to play a role in inferring. Pain is not conceptually mediated, after all, dogs can also feel pain.
Summary: P Consciousness can be consciousness of and consciousness of does not need to be Z consciousness.
II 555
1) Cultural construct!
2) You cannot have consciousness without having the concept of consciousness.
3) Consciousness is a "cerebral celebrity": only those contents are conscious that are persistent, that monopolize the resources long enough to achieve certain typical and "symptomatic" effects.
Ad 1) this is a merging of several concepts of consciousness.
2) Consciousness cannot be a cultural product.
Also probably not the Z consciousness: many lower creatures have it, even without such a concept.
Ad 3) But that is a biological fact and not a cultural one.
II 568
Fallacy/BlockVsSearle: Question: why the thirsty blindsight patient in the example does not reach for the water: he lacks both P consciousness and Z consciousness. That's right.
But it is a mistake to go from a function of the machinery of Z consciousness to any function of P consciousness.
     Fallacy: to prematurely draw the conclusion that P consciousness has a certain function from the premise that "consciousness" is missing (without being clear what kind of consciousness).

Block I
N. Block
Consciousness, Function, and Representation: Collected Papers, Volume 1 (Bradford Books) Cambridge 2007

Metz I
Th. Metzinger (Hrsg.)
Bewusstsein Paderborn 1996

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-23