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Fall 2011 Brown-Bag Lunch Series: Michelle Montague
December 8, 2011 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Michelle Montague (Bristol University) will present Content and Awareness of Awareness:
Much of the discussion concerning intentionality has taken place in terms of the notion of content. I too will focus on this notion. The notion of content I will develop begins with the notion of experience. By experience I mean conscious experience (I take it that all experience is conscious by definition).
What is fundamental to having an experience? The most fundamental fact about experience is that it essentially involves phenomenology. Since I am starting an investigation of content by taking ‘experience’ as fundamental, and given the essential connection between the notions of experience and phenomenology, a good way to begin, when raising the question ‘what is the content of experience?’, is to focus on the phenomenology of the experience.
I favour, then, a wide, maximally inclusive, definition of ‘content’. According to this definition, the content, the total content, of an experience, is everything that one experiences in having the experience. Equivalently, content is (absolutely) everything that is given to one, experientially, in the having of the experience. What is given includes both the phenomenological and non-phenomenological.
In this paper I will focus on one aspect of what is given in experience. In having a particular conscious perceptual experience the subject is always and necessarily also aware of that very experience itself. Conscious awareness always involves—constitutively involves—some sort of awareness of that very awareness. One can either hold that this awareness of awareness involves no higher-order operation at all, experience being in some way essentially ‘self-intimating’, or that the regress stops at the second-order. In this paper I’ll defend a ‘no-higher-order’ or ‘same-order’ view.