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There are several important differences between global externalism
and the TESEE view of consciousness, the most signi¬cant of which
concerns the universality and necessity of the corresponding externalist
claims. If I understand the representationalist position shared by Dretske,
Lycan and Tye correctly, it holds that global externalism is necessitated
once one allows an externalist foot in the door of intentionality. As we
will see in the next chapter, such a view seems to be shared by recent de-
fenders of “narrow phenomenology,” such as Terence Horgan and Brian
Loar, for they aim to defuse such a global externalism with a “global
internalism” about both phenomenology and intentionality.
By contrast, the TESEE view of consciousness, like the more general
externalism of which it is a part, is inherently pluralistic. It allows that indi-
vidualism may be correct about certain mental states “ pain is an example
that I have given at several points “ but that there is no barrier to devel-
oping an externalist view of the full range of mental states, intentional
or conscious. The TESEE view aims primarily to show that individualism
is not a constraint on a psychology or cognitive science of any speci¬c
sort of mental state, including the full range of conscious states. As a
consequence, it implies that a certain internalist picture of cognition has
held us captive, and seeks to replace that picture with another vision of
Expanding Consciousness 241

cognitive processing. Given this, the chief ground for preferring the ex-
ternalist vision is not any a priori argument from the purported nature of
intentionality to claims about the nature of consciousness. Rather, these
concern the general theoretical virtues of the externalist view, such as its
range of application and overall integral character.
A second difference between global externalism and the TESEE view
is that the TESEE conception takes locational externalism much more
seriously than does global externalism. In part because of this, the TESEE
conception is more vulnerable to the charge of “changing the subject” in
offering an expanded view of consciousness. But rather than allow this to
lapse into a dispute over what words mean I have suggested that the attrac-
tiveness of the TESEE view lies primarily in its scope and integrity. If the
charge against the TESEE view is that it changes the subject by adopting
a distinct view of what consciousness is, then the corresponding charge
against existing views is that they offer a contracted view of consciousness.
Such a view makes it dif¬cult to see how entwined consciousness is with
our everyday mental life and the range of cognitive processing that we
engage in.
A third and subsequent difference between global externalism and
the TESEE view of consciousness is the sensitivity of the latter to develop-
ments within the cognitive sciences themselves. There has been a recur-
ring tension throughout Parts Two and Three between the naturalistic
deference to explanatory practice in the cognitive sciences that is central
to the argument of the book as a whole and the recognition that the
cognitive sciences are predominantly individualistic in methodology and
outlook. It is in part because of this pair of points that I remain skeptical
of global externalism. Its endorsement requires viewing current and past
explanatory practice in the cognitive sciences as quite radically mistaken,
even about consciousness. Instead, on the TESEE view, there are what
we might call philosophical excesses that fall out of the individualistic
mindset of tradition “ we might include here the belief in qualia, as well
as the idea that the ¬rst-person perspective is necessarily internalist “ but
there is no compunction in giving individualism its due. It is just a more
limited due than one might have thought.
In the next chapter, I explore some recent philosophical views that
attempt to present a robust articulation of consciousness within an indi-
vidualistic framework. At their heart are some proposals about the rela-
tionship between intentionality and phenomenology.
10

Intentionality and Phenomenology




1 the relationship between intentionality
and phenomenology
Traditionally, postbehaviorist philosophy of mind and cognitive science
has proceeded on the assumption that intentionality and phenomenol-
ogy can most pro¬tably be treated independently or separately from one
another. The intentional and the phenomenal have often been viewed as
the two fundamental categories of the mental within the philosophy of
mind, with more speci¬c types of mental states falling under one or the
other of them. Belief and thought are paradigms of the intentional, and
pain and bodily sensations paradigms of the phenomenal. Even when this
divide between the intentional and the phenomenal has not been treated
as a mutually exclusive categorization scheme for thinking about the con-
stituents of the mind, intentional and phenomenal aspects of particular
types of mental states remain distinguished and treated in separation
from one another. Terence Horgan and John Tienson have called this
general position separatism.1
These forms of separatism about the intentional and the phenomenal
likely have no single cause. For some, separatism makes sense because
intentionality is thought to be signi¬cantly more tractable than phe-
nomenology. “Look,” one might say, “¬guring out how the mind works is
really hard. Consciousness is a complete mystery. But we at least have some
inkling about intentionality and mental representation. So let™s work that
out ¬rst.” Hence, the explosion of work on causal, informational, and
teleological theories of content, and the attention that the individualism-
externalism debate has generated over the past twenty-¬ve years. For

242
Intentionality and Phenomenology 243

others, separatism is driven by viewing a divide-and-conquer strategy in
general as more ef¬cient in dealing with dif¬cult-to-understand phenom-
ena. And there are some who simply think that the intentional and the
phenomenal are metaphysically quite distinct, so that carving the mind
at its joints requires separatism. Extending the Horgan and Tienson ter-
minology, I shall call the former type of positions pragmatic separatism and
the latter-most position metaphysical separatism.
Pragmatic separatism implies a research strategy that can be adopted
independent of one™s stance on metaphysical separatism. Pragmatic sep-
aratism amounts to a two-part gamble. The ¬rst assumes that parsing
the mental world into the intentional and the phenomenal provides the
basis for conceptual and empirical advances in what we know about the
mind. This gamble has gone hand-in-hand with the classic computational
theory of mind and traditional arti¬cial intelligence, which have chie¬‚y
modeled intentionality independent of considerations of phenomenol-
ogy. The second gamble is to assume that treating intentionality as a
uni¬ed phenomenon, such that one can theorize about it and explore
it in both the mental and nonmental realms, will turn out to have much
the same bene¬ts. This gamble has generated informational and teleo-
logical accounts of intentionality, which have assimilated mental states to
mechanistic detectors (such as thermostats) and bodily organs (such as
hearts and kidneys).
Over the last decade or so, these gambles have been challenged, and
separatism of both kinds has been rejected. As consciousness of con-
sciousness has increased, a number of philosophers have advocated a
central role for the phenomenal in our conception of the mental, and in
our conception of the intentional in particular. For example, John Searle
has defended the connection principle, the principle that “all unconscious
intentional states are in principle accessible to consciousness,” using this
principle to cast doubt on the existence of many of the kinds of men-
tal representations posited within cognitive science. Galen Strawson has
claimed allegiance to the widespread view that what he calls “behavioral
intentionality can never amount to true intentionality, however complex
the behavior, and that one cannot have intentionality unless one is an
experiencing being.” That is, no matter how complicated a creature™s
behavior, unless that creature has consciousness all attributions of inten-
tionality are mere “as if ” intentionality, not the real McCoy. Both of these
views appear to make the existence of phenomenology in a creature a
prerequisite for intentionality, at least “original” or “real” intentionality.
In doing so, they have brought a focus on human minds “ rather than,
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
244

say, animal minds or computers “ as the paradigmatic loci of intentional
states.2
Some recent views go further than this in suggesting more speci¬c
and foundational roles for phenomenology vis-` -vis intentionality. Brian
a
Loar has argued that there is a form that intentionality takes “ subjective
intentionality, psychological content, intentional qualia, or phenomenal
intentionality “ that is psychologically pervasive. It is distinct from, and in
certain respects more primitive than, the kind or kinds of intentionality
that have been discussed in light (or perhaps the shadow?) of the external-
ist arguments of Putnam and Burge. Loar thinks that such intentionality
is narrow, and in part this is because he views phenomenology as being
individualistic. In Loar™s view, there is not simply a general, presuppo-
sitional connection between intentionality and phenomenology. Rather,
there is a form of intentionality that is thoroughly phenomenal and that
is manifest as the phenomenal content of a range of particular mental
states.3
Terence Horgan and John Tienson have taken a similar path. They
argue for a two-way inseparability thesis: that intentional content is insepa-
rable from the phenomenal character of paradigmatic phenomenal states
(for example, pain, visual experience), and that phenomenal character
is inseparable from the intentional content of paradigmatic intentional
states (for example, propositional attitudes). In addition, they defend
what they call the phenomenal intentionality thesis: that there is a pervasive
kind of intentionality determined by phenomenology alone. Like Loar,
Horgan and Tienson argue that this intentionality is narrow, and that in
important respects it is more fundamental than wide content.4
While I think that even the general views typi¬ed by Searle and
Strawson are problematic, in this chapter, I shall focus on the more
speci¬c proposals made by Horgan and Tienson and the views of Loar.
Both the inseparability and phenomenal intentionality theses seem to
me false, and even were the latter true, the signi¬cance that Horgan
and Tienson attach to it misplaced. Pinpointing the problems with the
Horgan-Tienson position will shed some light, I hope, on the limitations
of Loar™s more wide-ranging discussion and the broader issues that their
shared position and its defense raise.


2 dimensions of the inseparability thesis
One legacy of the attachment that many philosophers of mind had to
the intentional during the 1980s was the articulation of various forms of
Intentionality and Phenomenology 245

representationalism with respect to the phenomenal through the 1990s.
Fred Dretske, William Lycan, Michael Tye, and Gilbert Harman have all
defended versions of representationalism about phenomenal states. The
basic idea of such representationalist views is to treat phenomenal states
as a type of intentional state, to analyze or understand the experiential in
terms of the representational. A key strategy of representationalists has
been to point to the transparent or diaphanous character of experience
and our re¬‚ection on it. When I engage in introspection on the character
of my experience, I ¬nd that it is thoroughly intentional, so thoroughly
so that it is hard to distinguish any purely qualitative, nonintentional
remainder of the experience. My on-line re¬‚ection on my current visual
experience, for example, seems to me to yield only what it is I am currently
looking at (books, a computer screen, a telephone, a coffee cup, and so
on), what is usually taken to be the content of my visual experience. Thus,
representationalism serves as a basis for either the rejection of qualia,
or their subsumption under the putatively better understood notion of
intentionality.5
Because of the recent prominence of the intentional and of represen-
tationalist views of experience, the two halves to Horgan and Tienson™s
inseparability thesis are not viewed as equally in need of justi¬cation.
Representationalists accept, of course, the idea that the intentional per-
vades the phenomenal, as Horgan and Tienson acknowledge. Thus, it is
the second half of their thesis “ the claim that paradigmatic intentional
states, such as beliefs and desires, have an inseparable phenomenal char-
acter “ that requires more by way of justi¬cation, at least in the dialectical
tenor of the times.
There are several dimensions along which versions of the insepara-
bility thesis can vary that make for stronger and weaker views about the
relationship between intentionality and phenomenology. Consider three:

(a) quanti¬cational range: Are there just some mental states of which
the thesis is true, or is it true of all mental states?.
(b) modal intensity: Are the intentional and phenomenal merely coin-
cident, physically necessitated or nomologically linked, or concep-
tually related?
(c) grain of determinateness: At how speci¬c a “level” does the insepara-
bility thesis hold? At the least speci¬c level, it would apply to the
properties being intentional and being phenomenal. At the most
speci¬c level, the thesis would apply to speci¬c mental states (for
example, attitude plus content), such as believing that there is a
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
246

red tomato in front of me here and now, and having a speci¬c,
reddish, roundish visual sensation.

Versions of the inseparability thesis that are strong on any of these
dimensions are implausible, not only given Horgan and Tienson™s other
commitments, but independently. Or so I shall argue.


3 de¬‚ating the inseparability thesis
Consider these dimensions to the inseparability thesis in reverse order.
Grain of determinateness. Few (if any) intentional states have a speci¬c
phenomenal character without which they cannot have the wide con-
tent that they have. This is clearest in the interpersonal case, and one
reason for ¬nding both pragmatic and metaphysical separability theses
plausible is that we can generalize about, for example, propositional atti-
tudes in a robust manner without delving into the phenomenology that
(let us suppose) accompanies those states. What an arbitrarily chosen
pair of people share phenomenologically when they both entertain the
thought that George Bush is president of the United States is anyone™s
guess. Intuitively, people can share this thought despite speaking dif-
ferent languages, and sharing few substantive beliefs or opinions about
either George Bush, the presidency, or the United States, all of which
typically impact on how it feels, what it is like, to entertain that thought.
Phenomenological comparisons are also notoriously under strain in
crossspecies cases. Moreover, the ¬ner the grain of determinateness to
the experiences, the greater the problem here.
But this is also true intrapersonally, even if the variation here is not in
general as great, in part because we are creatures of habit mentally as
well as behaviorally. It is easy to fall into mental ruts, where the recurring
phenomenology is part of the rut. Most pointedly, one and the same
intentional state can be realized by a person on two distinct occasions and
have a phenomenology at all on only one of them. Clearly this is true in cases
where an intentional state is conscious on only one of those two occasions,
assuming (for now) that phenomenology presupposes consciousness. But
it is also true even when both occurrences are conscious occurrences.
Horgan and Tienson claim that “[i]f you pay attention to your own
experience, we think you will come to appreciate” the truth of their claims
about the intentional and the phenomenal. In the spirit of Horgan and
Tienson™s appeal for a reader to “pay attention to your own experience,”
I have just done the decisive experiment: I thought ¬rst that George
Intentionality and Phenomenology 247

Bush is president of the United States, and had CNN-mediated auditory
and visual phenomenology that focused on one of his speeches. I then
took a short break, doodled a little, wandered around the room, and

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