Jakub Mihálik: 

'Consciousness & the Meta-Problem of Acquaintance'

18.12.2023 14:00, Zasedací místnost FLÚ, Jilská 361/1, Praha 1

According to a widespread intuition, in having a conscious experience, one is ipso facto acquainted with this experience (Chalmers, Goff, Prinz), for example, with what it’s like to taste a mango. Such ‘acquaintance intuitions’ portray acquaintance as the subject’s direct, intimate awareness of their experiences, something that’s hard to account for in physicalist terms, hence yielding ‘the problem of acquaintance’ (Levine, Kriegel, Balog). I’ll examine how our acquaintance intuitions, i.e. our judgments and reports about acquaintance, arise. Since this is the problem of accounting for why we judge that there is a problem of acquaintance, I’ll call it, inspired by Chalmers, the meta-problem of acquaintance. As I’ll explain, addressing this problem is crucial for both realists about consciousness, who typically invoke acquaintance when accounting for our special, epistemically secure, awareness of experience, and for illusionists, who often allow that we have a (misleading) sense of acquaintance. I’ll argue that Chalmers’ tentative solution to the meta-problem of acquaintance, inspired by Saad’s views, relies on acquaintance being phenomenally present, as part of one’s conscious experience, which, I’ll argue, is highly controversial. I will then outline two approaches available to those who view acquaintance as (often) non-phenomenal: The 'awareness schema approach', inspired by Graziano, and the ‘inferential approach’, inspired by Rosenthal and Coleman. I’ll conclude by explaining why the latter approach is preferable for realists about consciousness.


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