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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 8, pp 2067–2085 | Cite as

Evans on transparency: a rationalist account

  • Daniel StoljarEmail author
Article
  • 203 Downloads

Abstract

Gareth Evans famously observed that he can answer the question ‘Do you think there is going to be a third world war?’ by attending to “precisely the same outward phenomena as I would attend to if I were answering the question ‘Will there be a third world war?’” (The varieties of reference, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 225, 1982). I argue that this observation follows from two independently plausible ideas in philosophy of mind. The first is about rationality and consciousness: it is that to be rational is in part to be required to believe that you are in a conscious state if you are in one, at least if various background conditions are met. The second is about consciousness and attention: it is that consciousness in a belief state consists in its subject engaging, to a sufficient extent, in a certain sort of world-directed attention. I also argue that this suggestion is superior to others that have been made in the literature regarding Evan’s observation. 

Keywords

Consciousness Rationality Introspection Self-knowledge Transparency Attention Access Evans 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Alex Byrne, Ryan Cox, Frank Jackson, Tori McGeer and Declan Smithies for conversations that had a direct positive impact on the paper.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy, RSSS, College of Arts and Social ScienceAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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