In this essay I will argue that Rosenthal's Higher Order Thought Theory provides a possible account of conscious awareness, in doing so addresses and gets to solve the mind-body problem for that particular mental phenomenon.
I will commence by defining what makes a mental state conscious. This will be done aiming to distinguish what type of state we are addressing when we speak of a mental phenomenon and how is it, that can have a plausible explanation. By taking this first approach, we are able to build a base for our main argument to be clear enough and so that we can remain committed to.
Next, I will proceed to describe what the HOT Theories are, which conditions or requirements contain, as well as mentioning some constraints they may show and that in turn can motivates them.
At this point I will start developing a more explicit account of how Rosenthal’s higher order thought theory, tries to explain consciousness in some mental states like awareness.
First order theories are a challenge to any higher order thought theories; consequently I will briefly look at some of them, for they are the other type of theories contesting the explanation of consciousness. Also, one of this FO theories is strongly supported by Ned Block, who is the main objector to Rosenthal's HOT Theories in this essay.
Some examples will be added that are necessary to assist us, in sustaining the main argument as well as to facilitate defining some requirements, for a HOT to occur in a conscious state.
Thirdly, some of Ned Blocks objections to the Higher Order Thought Theory will be considered and review in order to reaffirm the validity of the main argument. Block's objections will be taken as the main challenge to Rosenthal's HO theory. These will include his position in support of ‘the Explanatory Gap’ that he alludes the HOT theory is trying to solve the mystery.
In this manner we should reach a conclusion, were one can easily recognize, how a higher order thought theory can provide with a good explanation for conscious awareness. By giving this plausible account, in turn also gets to solve the mind-body problem for that mental phenomenon.
What makes a state conscious? When referring to conscious states, I intended to give an account of how mental states that are conscious varied, from the ones that are not. For doing otherwise, may cause to miss pointing towards the reason why, the conscious ones are that way. This turns out to be a constraint on any type of theory while trying to outline what is it for a state to be conscious.
Mental states such as thoughts and perceptiions are conscious if we are aware of them in some intuitevely manner. We also apply the term conscious to the creatures that are in those mental states and we call this creature consciousness. However, some mental states happen in waking and sentient conscious life without those states being conscious, so a state's being conscious cannot depend upon being the state of a...