I'm pleased to announce that my paper "Inner Awareness as a Mark of the Mental" has been accepted for presentation at the Mind, Language, and the First-Person Perspective School of Philosophy, organised by the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, scheduled for September 28-30, 2021.
The paper, which contributes to the debate about the Brentanian concept of inner awareness, is based on a talk I gave at the Phenomenality and Self-Consciousness online workshop, which we organised in July 2020.
While for Brentano it is a mark of the mental that any mental state is an object of inner awareness, this suggestion is notably rejected by the higher-order thought theory (HOTT) of consciousness that posits non-conscious inner awareness, which isn’t an object of inner awareness, and yet is mental. I examine an objection against the HOTT, according to which inner awareness is phenomenally present in consciousness. To assess the objection, I investigate arguments of David Chalmers and Michelle Montague who attempt to prove this phenomenal presence. I argue that while these arguments may show that experience is not transparent, they crucially fail to demonstrate that ‘inner transparency’ must be false too, i.e. that inner awareness is phenomenally present. I conclude that non-conscious inner awareness is an open possibility and Brentano’s posit of inner awareness as the mark of the mental thus looks unpromising.