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The Inner Life of a Rational AgentIn Defence of Philosophical Behaviourism$
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Rowland Stout

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623433

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623433.001.0001

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Consciousness

Consciousness

Chapter:
(p.187) 10 Consciousness
Source:
The Inner Life of a Rational Agent
Author(s):

Rowland Stout

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623433.003.0010

This chapter considers consciousness, long thought to be the hardest nut for a behaviourist to crack. It argues for an epistemic approach to consciousness in which the idea of a conscious state of mind is understood in terms of the idea of a person being conscious of something and not the other way round. The chapter then applies the account of knowledge to yield the following account of consciousness: S is conscious of O if and only if O’s present relationship with S provides S with a means to knowledge of O. This does not undermine the idea of consciousness or drain it of phenomenal content. Being conscious of the dusty redness and ineffable earthy smell of a tomato is to know the dusty redness and ineffable earthy smell of the tomato through their being present to one’s visual and olfactory capacities. Sensory qualities are out there, and when their presence to us enables us to know them, they enter into our conscious states.

Keywords:   conscious states, knowledge, self-knowledge, sensory qualities

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