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P- consciousness and A-consciousness according to Block Essay Example

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P- consciousness and A-consciousness according to Block

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P- consciousness and A-consciousness according to Block. It is quite possible that, as block points out, the contents of thoughts themselves have a P-conscious aspect independently of their vehicles. Block points out one crucial thing that a particular trait of P-consciousness that is often missed is that differences in intentional content often make a P-conscious difference. Block claims that P-conscious properties are completely distinct from any cognitive, intentional, or functional property. Block also defines A-consciousness. According to him, the non-phenomenal notion of consciousness that is most easily and dangerously conflated with P-consciousness is access-consciousness or A-consciousness. A state is said to be access-conscious or A-conscious “

if, in virtue of ones having the state, a representation of its content is (1) inferentially promiscuous, i. poised to be used as a premise in reasoning, and (2) poised for [rational] control of action and (3) poised for rational control of speech”. (Block, 1995, 13) Block, however, says that these three conditions are together sufficient, but not all necessary for the existence of the state of A-consciousness. According to Block (3) is not necessary for the existence of the state of A-consciousness. He regards (3) as unnecessary because he wants to allow non-linguistic animals, e. chimps, to have A-conscious states. Block states that A-consciousness is a cluster concept, in which (3) is the element of the cluster with the smallest weight, though it is (3) which often acts as the best practical guide to A-consciousness. Block talks about three main differences between A-consciousness and P consciousness: first, P-conscious content is phenomenal, whereas A-conscious content is representational. Second, A-consciousness is a functional notion, but P-consciousness is not a functional notion. And third, there a thing like a P-conscious type of state. For example the feel of pain is a P-conscious type of state. But any particular kind of thought that is A-conscious at a given time could fail to be accessible at some other time. . P- consciousness and A-consciousness according to Block.

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References

1. Block, N. (1995). On a confusion about a function of consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (2): 227-287, available at: http://www.bbsonline.org/Preprints/OldArchive/bbs.block.html (accessed on May 19, 2008)

2. Block, N 2002, Concepts of Consciousness in Chalmers, D (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

3. Carruthers, P. 2001, Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness, in Zalta, E (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2001 Edition),Viewed 1 May 2007, .

4. Chalmers, D. 1997, Availability: The Cognitive Basis of Experience, in Block, N Flanagan, O & Guzeldere, G (eds), The Nature of Consciousness, MIT Press, pp. 421-425.

5. Rosenthal, D. 1997. Phenomenal Consciousness and What its Like. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 20(1): 156-157.

6. Silby, B. 1998, On a Distinction Between Access and Phenomenal Consciousness, Viewed 2 May 2007, .

7. Kihlstrom, J. 1987. The cognitive unconscious. Science, 237:1445-1452.

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