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“Are Phenomenal Theories of Thought Chauvinistic?”, Dr. James Preston Lennon (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, RuCCS, Rutgers University, New Brunswick)

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 02:00pm - 03:20pm

152 Frelinghuysen Rd, Psych Bldg. Room 105

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Abstract:  The phenomenal view of thought says that thoughts are episodes in the stream of consciousness: they have phenomenal character, and this phenomenal character partially determines their content (Horgan and Tienson 2002, Pitt 2009, Strawson 2010, Siewert 2011). In this talk, I entertain and respond to an objection to the phenomenal view, namely, that it is chauvinistic. A theory of mind is chauvinistic when it denies mental states to systems that intuitively have them (Block 1978). Drawing on work from Robert A. Wilson (2003), I develop two arguments entailing that the phenomenal theory of thought is chauvinistic: it seems to deny the possibility of having thoughts without any phenomenal character or having thoughts with different phenomenal character than they typically have. Finally, I respond to these arguments on behalf of the phenomenal view. The upshot is that the chauvinism objection need not threaten the phenomenal view of thought.

Bio: Preston Lennon