On Monday, February 1 at 2 p.m., I'm going to to give a talk, entitled The Subjectivity of Consciousness as 'Inner Awareness' (see abstract below), at University of Hertfordshire's Philosophy Research Seminar. Due to the current lockdown in the UK, the seminar is taking place online this semester and is open to the public. Please drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending and I'll send you the Zoom link.
There is a broad consensus that a phenomenally conscious state normally involves – apart from its qualitative nature – a ‘for-me’ aspect that constitutes the state’s subjective character, or subjectivity. According to Kriegel’s influential self-representationalist account, subjective character, or for-me-ness, is constituted by a conscious state’s ‘inner awareness’ of itself that is a ubiquitous peripheral accompaniment of the focal ‘outer awareness’ that targets various features of the world and our bodies. Crucially, inner awareness is viewed by Kriegel as itself phenomenally conscious and thus involving its own ‘dim’ phenomenology. While I think Kriegel’s focus on subjective character is welcome, I wish to challenge the construal of for-me-ness as phenomenally conscious that his account is an instance of. I shall first discuss Nida-Rümelin’s challenge for the self-representationalist account, arguing that while her critique is persuasive, her own conception of ‘primitive awareness’ is not clearly a viable alternative for the proponents of conscious for-me-ness. I shall then offer a new argument against conscious for-me-ness that, if sound, would have a more general scope and would apply, for example, to the conception of for-me-ness, famously defended by Zahavi & Kriegel. I shall conclude by briefly considering the merits and challenges of an unconscious construal of for-me-ness.