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Concrete Consciousness: A Sartrean Critique of Functionalist Accounts of Mind

Joel W. Krueger
Sartre Studies International
Vol. 12, No. 2 (2006), pp. 44-60
Published by: Berghahn Books
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23511002
Page Count: 17
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Concrete Consciousness: A Sartrean Critique of Functionalist Accounts of Mind
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Abstract

In this essay, I argue that Sartre's notion of pre-reflective consciousness can be summoned to offer a general challenge to contemporary functionalist accounts of mind, broadly construed. In virtue of the challenge Sartre offers these contemporary functionalist accounts and the richness of his phenomenological analysis, I conclude that his voice needs to be included in ongoing debates over the nature of consciousness. First, I look at some of the basic claims motivating functionalist accounts of mind. Next, I look at Sartre's notion of pre-reflective consciousness and discuss how this notion challenges functionalist accounts of mentality. I conclude by suggesting that Sartre's rendering of pre-reflective consciousness remains overly cognitivist. I show how this notion can be deepened to include the sensory-motor capacities of the situated body—resulting in a pre-reflective bodily self-awareness—and how this deepened formulation offers a further challenge to functionalist accounts of mind.

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