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Gertler, Brie. Introspecting Phenomenal States
2001, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63(2): 305-328.
Added by: Lukas Schwengerer

Abstract: This paper defends a novel account of how we introspect phenomenal states, the Demonstrative Attention account (DA). First, I present a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for phenomenal state introspection which are not psychological, but purely metaphysical and semantic. Next, to explain how these conditions can be satisfied, I describe how demonstrative reference to a phenomenal content can be achieved through attention alone. This sort of introspective demonstration differs from perceptual demonstration in being non-causal. DA nicely explains key intuitions about phenomenal self-knowledge, makes possible an appealing diagnosis of blindsight cases, and yields a highly plausible view as to the extent of our first-person epistemic privilege. Because these virtues stem from construing phenomenal properties as non-relational features of states, my defense of DA constitutes a challenge to relational construals of phenomenal properties, including functionalism and representationalism. And I provide reason to doubt that they can meet this challenge.

Comment: This paper is a good and clear example of an acquaintance account of introspection with regard to phenomenal states. It can be used as a specialised reading on introspection, or as a supplement to discussions of phenomenal states. Because it involves a challenge to relational construals of phenomenal properties it can also be used in advanced philosophy of mind discussing the nature of phenomenal properties.

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