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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R32V2CJ7Z

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Accounting for Pure Consciousness: An Examination of the Ability of the Representationalist Approach to Phenomenal Consciousness to Account for Pure Consciousness Experiences Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
pure consciousness
intentional
phenomenal content
representationalist
experiential content
representationalism
representational
phenomenal consciousness
intentionality
consciousness
representation
pure consciousness experience
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bachmann, James K.
Supervisor and department
Robert A. Wilson (Philosophy)
Examining committee member and department
Michael R. W. Dawson (Psychology)
Evan Thompson (Philosophy)
Neil Dalal (Philosophy)
Chris Westbury (Psychology)
Department
Department of Philosophy
Specialization

Date accepted
2014-01-28T13:50:50Z
Graduation date
2014-06
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Any successful theory of phenomenal consciousness must be able to account for all types of phenomenally conscious experience. Representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness take phenomenally conscious experience to be intentional and explain phenomenally conscious experience in terms of the represented properties of the object(s) of experience. Pure consciousness experiences are a type of phenomenally conscious experience that can occur as the result of meditation or psychedelic drug use, and descriptions of pure consciousness experiences can be found in resources that range from ancient texts to contemporary scientific studies. Pure consciousness experiences completely lack any sort of content and because of this lack of content pure consciousness experiences pose a prima facie problem for representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness. After explaining pure consciousness experiences and providing evidence of their occurrence, I consider whether representationalist theories can overcome this prima facie problem and successfully account for pure consciousness experiences. I consider various ways representationalist theories might do this before arguing that representationalist theories are inadequate and ultimately rejecting a representationalist account of pure consciousness experiences. Given that representationalism can not successfully account for pure consciousness experiences, representationalism is not a sufficient theory of phenomenal consciousness.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R32V2CJ7Z
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: thesis - final version
File author: James Bachmann
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