Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI:

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Are there some mental phenomena for which insight is necessarily inexistent? The Freudian ‘Id’, and Schopenhauerian ‘Will’, have been joined in latter days by certain cerebral phenomena, all of which have been claimed to be both necessarily inaccessible and mental. General principles of insight are sought whereby we may assess such claims. The main truth emerging is that all known mental phenomenal types are normally immediately insightable in states of proper waking consciousness, and that the only phenomenon that defies the rule is constituted out of insightables. While many mental causal relations are naturally and even necessarily inaccessible, it seems unlikely that any mental phenomenal processes could be. As a test case, the formation of the visual experience is investigated, to discover whether it includes such a mental process. No evidence for such is encountered. All mental processes seem in principle to be accessible to their owner, whether immediately qua experience or inferentially through their constituting state. The conditional‐Cartesian thesis seems intact.

Keywords: Descartes; experience; Freud; insight; mental process; mental state; Schopenhauer; translucence; visual experience

Chapter.  18409 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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