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Theses Doctoral

The Strength of the Mind: Essays on Consciousness and Introspection

Morales, Jorge

I defend the view that mental states have degrees of strength. Our pains are more or less intense, our mental imagery is more or less vivid, our visual perceptions are more or less striking, and our desires and thoughts are more or less gripping. Mental strength is a phenomenal magnitude shared by all conscious experiences that determines their degree of felt intensity. Mental strength, however, has been largely ignored over other aspects of mental states such as their representational contents, phenomenology, or type. Considering mental strength is crucial for illuminating philosophical discussions related to representationalism, the transparency of experiences, cognitive phenomenology, attention, and the structure and function of consciousness. I use mental strength to develop in detail a neuropsychologically plausible theory of introspection and its limits that is inspired by a signal detection theoretic model of perception. In the second half of the dissertation, I look into methodological issues concerning the neural correlates of consciousness such as controlling for performance capacity and stimulus strength, and what these methodological concerns reveal about our theories of consciousness and its function.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy
Thesis Advisors
Morrison, John R.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 13, 2018
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