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Reply To Yujian Zheng

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Chapter Summary

Causal (or indexical) self-reference is a built-in element of primitive forms of intentionality such as perception, action or utterance. Self-reference presupposes self-consciousness of some kind (otherwise, it can have no causal power of the kind required in the above analysis). The higher animals, after all, have a motor cortex, which serves to activate the muscles that actually constitute the conscious intentional movements. No philosophical arguments can refute the brute biology. An argument in Yujian Zheng's paper is harder to summarize; intentional content, in humans, is both holistic and normative. Beliefs are supposed to be true. Inconsistent beliefs are to that extent defective, and fail to meet normative criteria. A brain both causes and realizes our normative holistic intentionality and in so doing it provides us with the capacity for consciousness that enables us to bring unconscious mental states to consciousness.

Keywords: intentional movements; self-reference; Yujian Zheng



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