April 17, 2009

Intuitions About Consciousness: Experimental Studies

cognition,theory of mind — alice @ 12:01 am Print This Post  AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Joshua Knobe and Jesse Prinz
Article in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

Abstract
When people are trying to determine whether an entity is capable of having certain kinds of mental states, they can think of it either from a functional standpoint or from a physical standpoint. We conducted a series of studies to determine how each of these standpoints impact people’s mental state ascriptions. The results point to a striking difference between two kinds of states-those that involve phenomenal consciousness and those that do not. Specifically, it appears that ascriptions of states that involve phenomenal consciousness show a special sort of sensitivity to purely physical factors.

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