One thing a theory of consciousness must do is capture the way conscious states differ from mental states that are not conscious. If an individual is in some mental state but wholly unaware of being in that state, that state is not a conscious state. By contraposition, a necessary condition for a state’s being conscious is that one is in some way aware of it.

We can describe being conscious or aware of something as transitive consciousness; so we can call this necessary condition for a state’s being conscious the transitivity principle. Elsewhere (e.g. 2005) I have argued that this principle is implemented by higher-order thoughts (HOTs) to the effect that one is in the relevant states; such HOTs make us aware of our conscious...

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