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Reid on Consciousness: HOP, HOT or FOR?

Rebecca Copenhaver
The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-)
Vol. 57, No. 229 (Oct., 2007), pp. 613-634
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4543268
Page Count: 22
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Reid on Consciousness: HOP, HOT or FOR?
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Abstract

Thomas Reid claims to share Locke's view that consciousness is a kind of inner sense. This is puzzling, given the role the inner-sense theory plays in indirect realism and in the theory of ideas generally. I argue that Reid does not in fact hold an inner-sense theory of consciousness and that his view differs importantly from contemporary higher-order theories of consciousness. For Reid, consciousness is a first-order representational process in which a mental state with a particular content suggests the application of recognitional concepts in forming beliefs or judgements to the effect that one is currently undergoing a state with that content. I take up the question of whether Reid's theory leads to a regress, and I argue that while the regress cannot be eliminated, it is mitigated by the non-hierarchical nature of Reid's theory of mind.

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