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The Phenomenology of Cognition or "What Is It like to Think That P?"

David Pitt
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jul., 2004), pp. 1-36
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40040701
Page Count: 36
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The Phenomenology of Cognition or
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Abstract

A number of philosophers endorse, without argument, the view that there's something it's like consciously to think that p, which is distinct from what it's like consciously to think that q. This thesis, if true, would have important consequences for philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In this paper I offer two arguments for it. The first argument claims it would be impossible introspectively to distinguish conscious thoughts with respect to their content if there weren't something it's like to think them. This argument is defended against several objections. The second argument uses what I call "minimal pair" experiences--sentences read without and with understanding--to induce in the reader an experience of the kind I claim exists. Further objections are considered and rebutted.

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