Andy Clark

Access and Qualia

Abstract

Block (1995) famously warns against the confusion of 'access-consciousness' and 'phenomenal consciousness'. Access consciousness occurs when the content of a mental state is poised for the control of rational action, for verbal report and for use in reasoning. Phenomenal consciousness, by contrast, involves the harder-to-define presence of experiential properties, of there being "something it is like" to see red, to hear a distant bell, and so on. I shall argue, however, that there is at least one kind of case in which facts about access seem to imply the presence of full-blown phenomenal consciousness - a kind of case, that is, in which given the facts about access it is impossible to conceive of the absence of phenomenal consciousness.

Monday, November 20, 2017
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