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Additional info for The Science of Subjectivity
Having rational access is metacognitive because it involves a knowledge representation about the conscious state, bringing it into coherence with other beliefs in a way that is relatively robust (“promiscuous”). Thus access consciousness is a reflexively metacognitive form of consciousness. Locke defined consciousness as the awareness of what passes in one’s own mind, and this definition is closely related to what Block calls access consciousness. 8 This Blockian distinction nicely allows for the possibility that one can be in a p-conscious (and hence subjective) state without having access to it.
52 Christofidou (1995) argues the diametrically opposed position that all uses of “I” are immune to error through misidentification. He argues that direct, identification-free self-reference is a condition of the possibility Subjectivity and Reference 33 of other, properly identifying judgments about the self: “I cannot cast any light on first-person thoughts and actions by having first to establish that my thoughts and actions are connected before I ascribe them to myself. The direction should be reversed.
Awareness The idea of a first-person mental state that is not conscious may initially appear incoherent, and many philosophers from at least the time of Locke have assumed that it is so. 3 The concept of unconscious subjectivity offers an improvement on Block’s (1995, 2011) important but flawed notion of phenomenal consciousness without access consciousness. The valuable core of Block’s insight is best expressed, not as a distinction between two kinds of consciousness but as a related distinction between conscious and unconscious subjectivity.
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