Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 353–393

Phenomenal transparency and cognitive self-reference

  • Thomas Metzinger

DOI: 10.1023/B:PHEN.0000007366.42918.eb

Cite this article as:
Metzinger, T. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (2003) 2: 353. doi:10.1023/B:PHEN.0000007366.42918.eb


A representationalist analysis of strong first-person phenomena is developed (Baker 1998), and it is argued that conscious, cognitive self-reference can be naturalized under this representationalist analysis. According to this view, the phenomenal first-person perspective is a condition of possibility for the emergence of a cognitive first-person perspective. Cognitive self-reference always is reference to the phenomenal content of a transparent self-model. The concepts of phenomenal transparency and introspection are clarified. More generally, I suggest that the concepts of “phenomenal opacity” and “phenomenal transparency” are interesting instruments for analyzing conscious, self-representational content, and that their relevance in understanding reflexive, i.e., cognitive subjectivity may have been overlooked in the past.

consciousness epistemic transparency phenomenal transparency representation self-consciousness self-model 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Metzinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophisches SeminarJohannes Gutenberg-Universität MainzMainzGermany E-mail

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