University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

Quotational higher-order thought theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • 907149

    Final published version, 518 KB, PDF document

View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2733
Number of pages29
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Early online date14 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


Due to their reliance on constitutive higher-order representing to generate the qualities of which the subject is consciously aware, I argue that the major existing higher-order representational theories of consciousness insulate us from our first-order sensory states. In fact on these views we are never properly conscious of our sensory states at all. In their place I offer a new higher-order theory of consciousness, with a view to making us suitably intimate with our sensory states in experience. This theory relies on the idea of ‘quoting’ sensory qualities, so is dubbed the ‘quotational higher-order thought theory’. I argue that it can capture something of the idea that we are ‘acquainted’ with our conscious states without slipping beyond the pale for naturalists, whilst also providing satisfying treatments of traditional problems for higher-order theories concerning representational mismatch. The theory achieves this by abandoning a representational mechanism for mental intentionality, in favour of one based on ‘embedding’


© 2015. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ID: 7964303