Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In this thesis I relate two theories about the content of phenomenal mental states. In plain language, these are theories about the way in which experience presents the world to the subject. Conceptualism is the theory that all phenomenal mental states are conceptually structured, so that their contents are limited by the conceptual repertoire of the subject. Nonconceptualism, on the other hand, is the theory that phenomenal mental states are not conceptually structured, and so their content is fixed in such a way that doesn't involve the subject's conceptual repertoire. I critique both theories and argue that neither conceptual nor nonconceptual content alone can account for all the features of phenomenal mental states. I conclude that a theory which allows for both conceptual and nonconceptual content is therefore desirable, and that we can avoid the obvious problem of attributing contradictory contents to phenomenal mental states if we adopt the view that phenomenal mental states can be stratified. In the final chapter I present some empirical evidence for a stratified view of phenomenal states, and give some indication of how to further proceed with a positive account of a mixed content theory.
La Fontaine, Jayar, "The Content of Phenomenal States: In Defense of a Mixed Theory" (2006). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5689.
McMaster University Library