David Rosenthal’S Hot (High Order Thought) Theory Of Consciousness

1260 WordsApr 23, 20176 Pages
David Rosenthal’s HOT (high order thought) theory of consciousness claims that a state is conscious when one has a certain kind of thought, a high order thought, about it. What it means for a thought being “higher order” is that it is a thought about a mental state. A thought about something that is not a mental state, for example, a thought that there is a dog on the sofa, is a first order thought. But thinking about the fact that you are thinking about a dog on the sofa is a higher order thought, or a second order thought. HOT theory seeks to explain state consciousness in terms of transitive consciousness. According to HOT theory, the only way we are conscious of our own mental states is if we can think about them; in other words, if we…show more content…
Even further, in the case of animals there are many concepts that they simply will not be able to learn. For example, the dog is unlikely to ever be able to learn the concept of an MP3 or grasp the concept of what Wednesdays are. This objection continues by saying that, in order to have higher order thoughts, one must have a concept of mental states. However, it is implausible that either babies or nonhuman animals grasp such a concept. This objection says that the HOT theory imposes concept possession requirements on babies and non-human animals that can’t be satisfied, even though many babies and nonhumans clearly have conscious states. The HOT theorist has two general ways to respond to the objection. The first way is to argue that babies and non-humans can satisfy the conceptual requirements on having higher order thoughts. The second way is to argue is by presenting reasons for thinking that babies and nonhumans don’t actually have any conscious states. The second version of the “too intellectual” objection, which focuses on adults. One line of evidence for the claim that we have very few colour concepts concerns the fact that we cannot remember fine differences in colour. For example, if you were looking at two very similar shades of blue and were shown a third sample a short time later, you would have a very difficult time remembering which of the first two

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