A Critical Assessment of the Higher Order Thought Theory of Consciousness
Woolley, Daniel James
David Rosenthal’s higher-order thought theory is a theory of state consciousness. The HOT theory posits that a form of higher-order awareness is required for a subject to be conscious of the mental states they bear. Higher-order awareness on this theory takes the form of a thought. The driving force behind the theory is the intuition that a conscious state is a state that a subject is aware of themselves as being in. The wide intrinsicality view advocated by Rocco Gennaro and ‘complex’ self-representationalism advocated by Uriah Kriegel are contemporary alternatives to Rosenthal’s HOT theory. The central thesis presented in this dissertation argues that, despite objections presented by both Gennaro and Kriegel, we are not given sufficient reason to abandon Rosenthal’s HOT theory.