, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 457-465
Date: 19 Jun 2011

Subjective consciousness and self-representation

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In Subjective Consciousness (2009) Uriah Kriegel presents an ambitious, original and closely argued theory of consciousness. Indeed he claims to give a strictly sufficient reductive analysis of what it is to have a phenomenal experience and to provide a full account of what he takes to be the two main elements of phenomenal character: its qualitative aspect and its subjective aspect. Both aspects are explicated by appeal to a naturalistic notion of representation, and each in its way involves a form of self-representation. The theory is meant to be reductive in that none of the features specified in his definition are themselves phenomenal. I am not convinced that Kriegel has succeeded—indeed as I will explain below I believe he has not—but that is hardly surprising given the ambitious nature of his goal.

Following Joseph Levine (2001) Kriegel treats phenomenal experiences as having both a qualitative aspect and subjective or “for-me-ish” aspect. My conscious experience of the sky on a