Abstract This paper explores certain facets of Christine Korsgaard’s paper, ‘Prospects for a Naturalistic Explanation of the Good’ (2018). Korsgaard’s account requires that an animal be able to experience ‘herself trying to get or avoid something’. The claim that animals possess such self-awareness is regarded by many as problematic and, if this is correct, it would jeopardize Korsgaard’s account. This paper argues that animals can, in fact, be aware of themselves in the way required by Korsgaard’s account. I Introduction. The goal of Christine Korsgaard’s paper, ‘Prospects for a Naturalistic Explanation of the Good’ (2018) is, as one might not unreasonably surmise, to examine the prospects for a naturalistic explanation of the good. But Korsgaard does far more than mere prospecting; she provides a naturalistic explanation of the good—an explanation that is, in my view, both cogent and plausible. It is also problematic—but in the best possible sense of that word. It raises questions, and therefore potentially problems, about the nature of consciousness and self-consciousness in both humans and other animals. For Korsgaard, it is consciousness that brings value into the world. At least, it is consciousness that brings final (as opposed to functional) value into the world. Moreover, the notion of absolute value, for Korsgaard, is nonsensical. If something is valuable it must be valuable to or for someone or something. It follows that if consciousness brings value into the world, then conscious creatures must be the sort of thing to or for which something can be of final value. And it turns out that, on Korsgaard’s view, this requires they have a form of self-consciousness. It is this aspect of Korsgaard’s view that will provide the focus for my discussion in this paper. II An Outline of the Argument. At the outset of the paper, Korsgaard tells us she is ‘looking for a way to explain why there is such a thing as the good—why some things are good and some are bad, some things are better and some are worse’ (2018, p. 111, italics in original). The account she seeks is naturalistic, in that it does not appeal to any irreducibly normative facts and is compatible with the scientific picture of the world. But it is not a reductive account, in that it does not aspire to reduce the good to something else (such as pleasure or desire-satisfaction). Korsgaard takes the notion of something’s being good for someone (such as a person, animal or group) to be prior to its being good simply or absolutely (p. 112), and builds her case on this basis. Korsgaard’s argument begins by understanding the notion of a functional good in terms of the notion of a final good. Something is good in the functional sense when it has properties that enable it to fulfill its function well (p. 112). The requisite notion of function is understood as ‘how a thing does what it does’. In order to identify what something is doing—and so understand whether it is doing it well or badly—we have to understand what its goal is (p. 113). Thus the notion of functional or evaluative good depends on a notion of final good, in the sense of something regarded as a goal. The project, accordingly, is to provide a naturalistic account of the idea of a final good—to understand why there is such a thing as a final good and what makes it a final good. Korsgaard thinks that there can be such a thing as a final good only because ‘there are conscious agents, who really are trying to do certain things and to achieve certain things … final goods exist in the perspective of conscious agents’ (p. 116). This does not entail that final goods exist only for creatures that can conceptualize it: ‘Even if animals do not use the concept of a final good or a goal, they do something that to varying degrees is functionally like being guided by the concept of a final good or a goal and how to achieve it. And recognizing that, we can use the concept of a final good or a goal on their behalf’ (p. 119). Her constructivism commits Korsgaard to the view that ‘we should deem things to be good because they are worth pursuing, rather than being worth pursuing because they are good’ (p. 121). To say that a goal is worth pursuing is an elliptical way of saying that it is worth pursuing by some particular agent, or type of agent. Thus ‘there are only final goods if some things are actually worth pursuing, at least to the animal who pursues them’ (p. 120).1 For an animal, evolution is the ultimate arbiter of which goals are actually worth pursuing: ‘… animals are “designed” by the process of evolution to find the things that are functionally good for them attractive, and to find the things that are functionally bad for them aversive … animals are designed in such a way that they take the things that are functionally good for them as final goods in the sense that they find them attractive and aim for them’ (p. 123). Thus: ‘Actions and ends are good for her if they make the animal good at living in the way characteristic of her kind’ (p. 123). To say that animals find things that are functionally good for them attractive means that these functionally good things have a positive valence (and, conversely, that functionally bad things have a negative valence). The task, accordingly, is to explain the idea of positive (and negative) valence without presupposing the notion of the good. Rather, given her constructivist commitments, the direction of explanation is reversed. The task is to explain the good in terms of the idea of positive valence rather than the other way around: ‘Since we are not looking for a reductive account of the good, it is not a problem if we explain the existence of the good in terms of the fact that some things have a positive valence. But to prevent circularity we must have an account of why things have positive or negative valences that does not in turn appeal to the existence of the good’ (p. 127). If we use the idea of positive valence to explain the good, then we cannot use the good (or variants on this, such as seeming or appearing good) to explain positive valence.2 Korsgaard’s solution is to explain positive (and negative) valence in terms of conscious action: [W]hat we should say is that when an animal finds something attractive and is inclined to go for it, what is happening is that she is in fact experiencing herself going for it. Her pleasures and pains are her awareness of the operations of her impulses, or rather—to put it a better way—they are the animal’s having these impulses consciously. (Korsgaard 2018, p. 127)Pleasure, on this view, is the awareness of the impulse to ‘go for’ something (or the ‘operations of’ this impulse). Pain is the awareness of the impulse to avoid or escape something. The impulse itself is what is positively or negatively valenced, and so ‘pleasure and pain are not valenced experiences. They are experiences of valence’ (p. 128). Thus Korsgaard’s naturalistic explanation of the good has three main strands: (1) functional good is explained in terms of final good, (2) final good is explained in terms of positive valence (which exists in the perspective of conscious creatures), and (3) positive valence is explained in terms of an animal’s awareness of the operations of its impulses. The first two explanatory strands are broadly familiar. Strand (3) is intriguing, suggestive, potentially important, and also problematic. I am therefore going to focus on that. First, however, certain interpretative issues need to be addressed. III The Experience of Valence: Two Formulations. Korsgaard actually provides two formulations of the idea of the experience of valence. The first is the pleasure/pain formulation we encountered above: ‘Her pleasures and her pains are her awareness of the operations of her impulses, or rather—to put it a better way—they are the animal’s having these impulses consciously’. This pleasure/pain formulation should be contrasted with another that follows closely on its heels: ‘On this view, an animal’s experiencing attraction and aversion is experiencing herself trying to get or avoid something. It is a way of knowing what she is doing’ (p. 128). Let us call this the attraction/aversion formulation. Korsgaard seems to think these are equivalent, but I suspect they are very different. The pleasure/pain formulation is, I think, deeply counterintuitive. It is doubtful that pleasure can be explained as awareness of (the operations of) one’s impulse to go for, or try to get something. Of course, I can feel a warm glow of pleasure at remembering a fond episode from years past, and this does not seem obviously connected with any impulse to go for or get something.3 But even if we do not regard this as a general theory of pleasure, and instead think of it as the claim that some pleasures consist in the awareness of one’s impulse to go for something, this claim seems implausible. Think, for example, of a greyhound chasing an artificial rabbit around a track. Suppose it is aware of its impulse to catch the rabbit. Is awareness of this impulse really a form of pleasure? Or think of another case, for me a little closer to home. Shadow is a working-line German shepherd from a long line of very serious protection dogs. Shadow has a very strong impulse to bite people. It’s his thing. Of course, I prefer it if the people he bites are willing volunteers who are, rather crucially, wearing a bite sleeve. Prior to being let off the leash to do his thing, Shadow will usually strain at the leash, squirm and vocalize loudly. Suppose, in these moments prior to his release, he is indeed aware of his impulse to ‘go for’ the person’s arm. Is this awareness really (a form of) pleasure? It doesn’t seem very pleasurable at all. In fact, it seems more like agonized, almost unbearable, tension.4 Korsgaard’s view does not, in fact, require the pleasure/pain formulation of the awareness of valence at all. According to the attraction/aversion formulation, ‘… an animal’s experiencing attraction and aversion is experiencing herself trying to get or avoid something’. This is not a claim about pleasure and pain. Rather, it is a claim about what it is to experience something as positively or negatively valenced: to experience something as positively or negatively valenced is to experience oneself as, respectively, attracted or repelled by it. Given her overall goal of explaining positive and negative valence without assuming the idea of the good, it seems that this (in my view) more plausible idea is all Korsgaard requires. There are two implicated forms of self-awareness to note in this attraction/aversion formulation. An animal experiencing attraction or aversion is, according to Korsgaard, ‘… experiencing herself trying to get or avoid something’. The animal experiencing attraction is experiencing both herself and the act of trying. Thus the experience of valence, in general, involves awareness both of oneself and of what one is trying to do. But if it is consciousness that brings final value into the world, it follows that conscious creatures must be capable of these sorts of awareness. The idea that animals are capable of such awareness—of themselves and of their mental acts—is, in the eyes of many, controversial. Nevertheless, I think Korsgaard is correct. In fact, I think that wherever there is conscious experience at all, there is also self-awareness of both these sorts. In the rest of the paper, I shall try to make this claim plausible. IV Intentional Self-Awareness. Most discussions of self-awareness in animals presuppose that such awareness takes a quite specific—what we might call an intentional—form. Consider, for example, the famous mirror self-recognition (msr) test (Gallup 1970). In the classic form of the test, a mark (usually dye) is placed on an animal subject—typically anaesthetized—in a position where this mark is visible only in a mirror. The animal’s subsequent behaviour in front of a mirror is observed. If it appropriately engages with the mark—using the mirror to inspect it, for example, or touching the relevant part of its body after viewing the mark in the mirror—then it is deemed to recognize that the body reflected in the mirror is its own body and, therefore, can be regarded as self-aware. It is not entirely clear which animals do and do not pass this test (nor is it entirely clear precisely what an animal has to do to pass the test). But most animals are deemed to fail the mirror test, and this has been taken as an indication of their lack of self-awareness.5 What is important for our purposes is the conception of self-awareness presupposed in the test. Intentionality, it is common to suppose—a few lean decades c.1970–2000 notwithstanding—has a tripartite structure comprising act, object and mode of presentation. When an animal recognizes itself in the mirror, it does so in virtue of engaging in an intentional act (of recognition) directed towards an object (the body reflected in the mirror) which it subsumes under a mode of presentation (me!). Essentially, the same thing happens when I recognize myself in the mirror. In its intentional form, self-awareness always conforms to this general model. The object and mode of presentation can, of course, vary. I can be intentionally aware not only of my body and bodily states but also of my psychological states. Moreover, the mode of presentation does not have to be of the form ‘me’ or ‘mine’. If I am aware of a puzzling belief or troubling desire, then the object is a mental state subsumed under a mode of presentation—puzzling or troubling. Intentional self-awareness, therefore, can come in both bodily and non-bodily forms. But its hallmark is always the same: an intentional act directed toward an object (the subject’s body, one or more states of this body, or one or more of the subject’s mental states) which is subsumed under a mode of presentation. Therefore, in the eyes of many, the (apparent) failure of many animals to pass the msr test reveals them to be lacking in the capacity for intentional self-awareness. Specifically, in the case of this test, they are unable to subsume their bodies under the mode of presentation ‘me’. Self-awareness can clearly take this intentional form. I can recognize myself in the mirror, and I can reflect on my beliefs and desires, and so on. There are, however, some pretty compelling reasons for thinking that intentional self-awareness is not the only, or even the most common, form that self-awareness can take. These reasons unite such otherwise (apparently) disparate figures as Kant (1781/1787), virtually the entire phenomenological tradition, Wittgenstein (1953), Sydney Shoemaker (1968), John Perry (1979) and Gareth Evans (1982), among others. The stern exigencies of word count do not permit me the luxury of recounting their arguments here. But instead, I shall try to do something else: I shall sketch an account of what I am going to call pre-intentional self-awareness, a form of self-awareness that does not involve making myself or any of my bodily or psychological states into objects of awareness.6 V Seeing and Self-Awareness. I see, let us suppose, a book. I see it precisely as a book. But I am only in direct visual contact with the part of the book that is facing me. Nevertheless, I see it as a book, and not, for example, as a book façade. Why? There is a story of why I see the book as a book that features strongly in the phenomenological tradition (see especially Husserl 1907), a story in recent years taken up by the enactivists (see especially Noë 2004) and, even more recently, given some kind of computational respectability by the predictive processing paradigm (Hohwy 2013, Clark 2016). According to this story, very roughly, I see the book because my visual contact with the book’s front—the part of the book with which I am in direct visual contact—has generated in me certain expectations or anticipations concerning how appearances will change if certain contingencies were to obtain, such as the book’s changing position or orientation relative to me, my changing position or orientation relative to the book, and so on. I expect, for example, that if the book is rotated, then the front cover will progressively disappear from view, becoming gradually replaced by the spine, and so on. Seeing it as a book façade, on the other hand, would generate a significantly different set of expectations. The specific set of expectations generated explain why I see it as one type of object rather than another. The contents of these expectations are often characterized as sensorimotor contingencies. A sensorimotor contingency can be thought of as made up of two components: (1) a contingency, and (2) a consequence. The contingency will involve some change either in the object perceived or in the perceiver: the object moves relative to the perceiver, the perceiver moves relative to the object, and so on. The consequence will be a change in the appearance of the object perceived. In what follows, it will be useful to keep this schema of contingency and consequence in mind. Given that our concern is with self-awareness, the salient point is that there is a kind of awareness both of oneself and of the act of seeing that is bound up in the seeing of something as something (Rowlands 2016, 2018). When I see the book as a book, I am aware of myself in that I am implicated in many (perhaps all) of the relevant expectations. If the book is moved, or reoriented, relative to me, if I move or reorient relative to the book, and so on. Even the changes in appearance expected in the rotation of the book assume that I am not orbiting the book. Thus I am aware of myself in virtue of my being implicated in the expectations that allow me to see the book as a book. Moreover, there is a subset of these expectations in which the act of seeing is implicated. I expect that if I close my eyes, appearances of the book will cease; I expect that if I plug my ears, or hold my nose, appearances of the book will remain unchanged; and so on. This form of self-awareness does not conform to the intentional model. In this case, I am not, or certainly need not be, an object of any of my intentional acts. The object, here, is the book and its various appearances. I am aware of myself without making myself into an intentional object of my mental acts. I am aware of myself in virtue of my being aware of something else (a book) in a certain way (in this case, as a book). I am, that is, pre-intentionally aware of myself. To the extent that animals can have conscious experiences in which they perceive objects as something-or-other—and I’m inclined to think that taking an object as something-or-other is part of what it is to have any conscious experience at all—animals are pre-intentionally aware both of themselves and of their intentional acts. This is a skeletal account, admittedly. A little meat can be put on the bones of this account by looking at the various ways in which animals perceive objects as being of a certain sort. The Gibsonian notion of an affordance is likely to do much of the heavy lifting here. It is likely that much perception in animals is perception for action. But seeing an object as sit-able upon, for example, involves awareness of one’s body, its character and dimensions: what is sit-able upon when you have two legs may not be sit-able upon when you have four. And seeing another animal as fightable with, mate-able with, playable with, prey-able upon, liable to prey upon me, attackable, liable to attack me, and so on, an animal must have various expectations about what the consequences will be of various contingencies. An opening for an attack makes sense if you have a certain size, speed or power advantage relative to your opponent, but not if you do not. And the animal who thus expects will be implicated in many of these expectations. VI Going for It! The specific form of self-awareness that Korsgaard cites in explaining valence is awareness of oneself as trying to get something or trying to get away from something. An animal must be aware of herself and her act of trying. With suitable modifications, we can tell the same kind of story of pre-intentional awareness. In this case also, the animal can be pre-intentionally aware of herself in virtue of being (intentionally) aware of something else in a certain way. The big difference, of course, between seeing and trying is the direction of fit. In the case of perception, the goal is for perception to fit the world—that is, for my perception as of a book to occur when and only when I am looking at a book. In the case of an animal trying to do something—to bite someone, for example—the goal is for the world to fit her trying: for the world to become what she is trying to make it (a world in which someone is, indeed, bitten by her). One would therefore expect the phenomenology to be different, as different as that between beliefs and desires. But it is not the phenomenology of the trying we are trying to explain here, but the animal’s awareness of herself and that she is trying. And in doing so, we can avail ourselves of the same general schema of contingencies and consequences. Let us suppose I am trying to catch a ball. What is it for me to be aware of my trying to do this, to be aware of my ‘going for’ the ball? I am trying to catch a football,7 let us suppose, thrown in a parabola, reaching a zenith and beginning its descent back to earth. I could, at least at one point in my life, do the maths. But, even on a good day, this would have taken around twenty minutes, and so could not help me with my current predicament. So, instead, I do something much simpler: I start moving. If I can get my path just right—a curved path that mirrors that of the ball—our respective motions will cancel each other out, and the ball will look as if it is travelling in a straight line. Moreover, if I can match my speed with that of the ball, then the ball will appear as if it is moving at a constant velocity. The result of these actions I can take is that the ball comes to appear catchable. And making the ball appear catchable is, in general, a prerequisite of catching it—at least with any degree of reliability. On the other hand, if my path is incorrect, or if my speed is not quite right, then I will experience the ball as, for example, going to fall just out of reach, or behind me. It will, then, not appear catchable—or rather, appear, as things stand, uncatchable. To catch the ball, I have to get myself in a position to catch the ball, and this means, fundamentally, acting in such a way that the ball will appear catchable. I do this by performing certain actions vis-à-vis the ball. Contingencies and consequences. Once again, that is what all this is about. The difference between the case of trying and that of seeing is simply this: the desire to enact, or bring about, the contingencies. In seeing the book as a book, I simply expect—believe, broadly construed—that certain contingencies will result in certain consequences for the appearance that present themselves to me. But in trying to catch the ball—in ‘going for’ the ball—I desire to bring about certain contingencies precisely because these will result in certain consequences for the way the ball appears: as a result of my bringing about these contingencies, the ball appears progressively more and more catchable, and this, all things being equal, will have an impact on the likelihood of success in my goal of catching the ball. To be aware of one’s trying is to desire to enact certain contingencies in order to exact certain appearances, for these changes in appearances are crucial to the success of what I am ultimately trying to do.8 In other words, the difference between seeing and trying is this. In seeing, I believe that certain contingencies will result in certain consequences for appearances. In trying, I believe this, but also desire to enact the contingencies precisely because they will have this effect on appearances. But the basic apparatus of contingencies and consequences is common to both. I am, therefore, aware of myself and my trying for the same reason that in seeing the book I am aware of myself and my act of seeing: I am implicated in the expectations of the relations between contingencies and consequences. VII Purging Unwelcome Intellectualism: The Subjunctive-Dispositional Model. Alas, as an account of pre-intentional self-awareness this will not yet work. Or, more precisely, it will not yet work if you assume pre-intentional self-awareness is prior to, or more basic than, intentional self-awareness. The reason is fairly obvious: the account is overly intellectualized. It describes pre-intentional self-awareness as it would exist in a creature that is also capable of intentional self-awareness. As the account has been sketched so far, in order to be pre-intentionally self-aware I have to be able to have expectations of the form ‘If I move here, then the appearances of the book (ball, etc.) will change in such-and-such a way’ and ‘If the book moves this way relative to me, then the appearances will change thus and so’, and so on. I seem to be an intentional object of the requisite expectations. And therefore it seems that in order to be pre-intentionally self-aware I must have the capacity for intentional self-awareness. That wasn’t where I was going at all. Nor, for that matter, is it where well-known champions of this sort of awareness typically tend to go.9 It is typical to hold that pre-intentional self-awareness is prior to its intentional counterpart; indeed, that the former makes possible the latter. It is, however, relatively easy to purge the offending intellectualist strand of this account of pre-intentional self-awareness. The seeds of the replacement of this intellectualist strand can, in fact, be found in its proper identification. The worry is not that seeing an object, O, as such-and-such requires consciously thinking numerous thoughts of the sort ‘If I were to move relative to O, then the appearances would change in a such-and-such a manner’ and ‘If O were to move relative to me, then appearances would change, thus and so’, and so on. There is no reason to suppose that the relevant expectations that allow me to see O as such-and-such must be take the form of conscious, occurrent thoughts. Nor, second, is there any reason to suppose that these expectations must take the form of unconscious thoughts. The pre-intentional is not a subcategory of the unconscious. Rather, it is to be understood as a distinctive—sui generis—form of self-awareness. When I see an object as such-and-such, this seeing-as must be grounded in an indefinitely large array of expectations. But these expectations are implicit rather than unconscious. The category of the implicit and the unconscious are quite different. If an expectation is unconscious, it is actually present, but in unconscious rather than conscious form. However, if an expectation is implicit, it exists in dispositional rather than actual form. An expectation of mine is implicit if I have a tendency, or disposition, to (actually) have this expectation under certain conditions, but do not, as things stand, (actually) have it. Nevertheless—and this is the real worry—even if only implicit, the existence of these expectations seems problematic. If the expectations exist in dispositional form, then while I might not actually be thinking them, consciously or unconsciously, I must nevertheless be able to think them. And these expectations are, in effect, thoughts about me. Therefore, it seems, I must have the capacity for intentional self-awareness in order to be pre-intentionally self-aware. Thus, if animals cannot be intentionally self-aware—and this is a common view—then it seems they cannot be pre-intentionally self-aware either. The key to avoiding this problem can be found by taking a closer look at the notion of the dispositional. An expectation of mine is implicit if I have a disposition to (actually) have this expectation under certain conditions, but do not, as things stand, (actually) have it. However, the conditions under which I will actually have this expectation can vary. Sometimes these conditions will be relatively common. But sometimes they are far rarer, obtaining infrequently or even never. And sometimes—and this is the possibility that interests me—they not only do not obtain, but, as things stand, cannot obtain. The sense in which a circumstance cannot obtain is a matter of physical necessity. I doubt we can make sense of the idea that one can have a disposition to ϕ in circumstances C, where C does not occur in any logically possible world. But if the impossibility is merely physical, then I think we can certainly make sense of this idea. In a circumstance where pigs had wings, pigs might indeed have a disposition to fly—even though such a circumstance is, given certain plausible constraints on evolutionary development, physically impossible. This is the idea I am going to exploit: the claim that the required expectations are implicit does not, in fact, entail that the individual who has these expectations is capable of thinking or entertaining them. If things were different—in some logically possible but perhaps not physically possible way—then the individual would be able to entertain these expectations. But, as things stand physically, it cannot do so. The key to whether an individual is pre-intentionally self-aware lies in what expectations it would have in certain logically possible circumstances and not what expectations it actually does have. More precisely, I shall argue that pre-intentional self-awareness is best understood as a function from a context to an act of intentional self-awareness.10 Suppose a dog is good at catching a frisbee.11 This would constitute evidence that the dog has mastered the relevant sensorimotor contingencies pertaining to the frisbee. He knows the steps to take in order to make the frisbee catchable. And part of the process of making the frisbee catchable is taking steps that make the frisbee appear catchable. This is, ultimately, why the dog is good at catching the frisbee: the dog is good at putting herself in position to catch the frisbee, which is equivalent to being good at making the frisbee appear catchable to her. Let us call the state of mastering these sensorimotor contingencies state φ. State φ is, in effect, the de-intellectualized version of pre-intentional self-awareness. Being in state φ, by itself, does not entail that the dog is capable of the intentional self-awareness—that it is capable of thinking thoughts of the form ‘If I were to ϕ, then such-and-such would happen’, and so on. Whether X can think these thoughts is crucially dependent on features of what we can call the context, C. The most important feature of this context will, of course, be a meta-cognitive machinery that allows an individual to think thoughts about itself and its actions: if I were to move here; then …; if the object were to move there, then …; and so on. Without this apparatus, state φ will not yield the requisite thoughts. Nevertheless, the absence of the apparatus and resulting thoughts does not entail that the individual is not pre-intentionally self-aware—in this de-intellectualized way. We can understand the de-intellectualized act of pre-intentional self-awareness as a function from a context to an act (or acts) of intentional self-awareness. Take a state of (de-intellectualized) pre-intentional self-awareness, φ, plug it into the right context (one involving the requisite meta-cognitive machinery), and you end up with an act of intentional self-awareness. If the context is different, however—lacking in the meta-cognitive machinery—you end up with no such thing. Nevertheless, in these latter circumstances, the individual is pre-intentionally aware of itself in virtue of being in a state such that if this state were plugged into an appropriate meta-cognitive apparatus, it would yield an act of intentional self-awareness. That is, an individual X is pre-intentionally aware if: X is in state φ, and if X were to instantiate (meta-cognitive) context C, then, as a result of being in φ, X would also be the subject, in dispositional form, of at least one mental act of intentional self-awareness.We might call this a subjunctive-dispositional model of pre-intentional self-awareness. The possession of state φ, to be clear, is neither a subjunctive nor a dispositional matter. The subject, X, is actually in state φ. X actually is pre-intentionally self-aware. However, what makes φ a state of pre-positional self-awareness is a subjunctive matter. It is a matter of what φ would do when inserted into an appropriate context—that is, a context involving the requisite meta-cognitive apparatus or abilities. The acts of intentional self-awareness that φ, when inserted into an appropriate context, will yield are not acts in which the subject must actually engage. It is enough that X is disposed to engage in these acts. This is so even though X has the meta-cognitive apparatus that allows it to think such thoughts. I have talked of pre-intentional and de-intellectualized pre-intentional self-awareness. But I do not mean to suggest that there are two things here, two different forms of pre-intentional self-awareness. There is only one thing: state φ. We can explain this in an intellectualist way: in terms of expectations that have the subject and her mental acts as part of the content of anticipations. Or we can explain state φ in de-intellectualized terms: as the mastery of sensorimotor contingencies that allow it to interact with objects in successful ways. There is one state, inserted into different contexts, and therefore described and explained in different ways. X is in a state of pre-intentional self-awareness when it is in a certain state φ where, if φ were to be inserted into an appropriate meta-cognitive context, then this would yield dispositions for X to engage in acts of intentional self-awareness. The status of φ as an act of pre-intentional self-awareness is a matter of what would happen in certain circumstances, whether or not those circumstances ever actually obtain. VIII Conclusion. For Korsgaard, to say that something is of final value is to say that it is of value to someone. Final value came into the world with the advent of conscious creatures. This value is to be explained in term of valence, and we cannot, therefore, explain valence in terms of value. Rather, valence is to be explained in terms of a creature’s awareness of the operations of her impulses—her awareness of her trying to get or avoid something. In this paper, I have tried to supply a detailed account of how this works. The account, if correct, supports Korsgaard’s account of value. Whenever an animal has a conscious experience—whether the direction of fit is world to mind or mind to world—that animal is aware of itself. It thereby becomes the sort of being to which something could matter. Footnotes 1 There are two interpretations of this idea, one subjective and the other objective. On the subjective interpretation, a goal is worth pursuing for an agent if the agent considers it worth pursuing. On the objective interpretation, a goal is worth pursuing for an agent if the agent considers it worth pursuing and is correct to do so. Some things Korsgaard says seem to favour the subjective interpretation. For example, there is the qualifying clause ‘at least from the agent’s point of view’ (p. 120). However, it is clear that Korsgaard endorses the objective interpretation. This explains her emphasis on standards of ‘success and failure’. Moreover, in connection with the idea that some things (such as pleasure) seem or appear to be worth pursuing, Korsgaard comments, ‘So perhaps all we need to ask is whether there is any reason to believe these appearances are true, or, to put the point more generally although more vaguely, whether we have some other ground for endorsing them’ (p. 122). Furthermore, ‘So something that appears worth pursuing is only actually worth pursuing if pursuing and obtaining it really does contribute to the functional success of the animal’ (p. 123). 2 ‘The trick is to find a way to explain the fact that animals find certain things attractive or aversive without appealing to the idea that those things just seem good or bad to the animals themselves’ (Korsgaard 2018, p. 127). 3 Helen Steward has made this point (in conversation). 4 These intuitions can be bolstered, to some extent, by comparing Korsgaard’s view with a well-known view of the sensory feeling of pleasure: the attitudinal view. According to this view, the sensory feeling of pleasure results from—or consists in, depending on the version of the view—the (awareness of the) satisfaction of desires. It does not consist in the awareness of the attempt to satisfy desires, nor of the impulse to try to satisfy a desire. It is not in the chasing of desires that pleasure arises, but in their satisfaction: the sensory feeling of pleasure arises when we actually satisfy a desire, not when we have an impulse to satisfy it. This does seem more plausible—although I doubt it can account for all forms of pleasure—than the idea that pleasure arises through awareness of the attempt to satisfy a desire. See Sidgwick (1981), Schroeder (2001) and Heathwood (2007) for defences of the attitudinal view. 5 Gallup (1982) goes further. In the grip of a higher-order thought (hot) theory of consciousness, he thinks that if animals are not aware of their mental states, they have no conscious mental life at all. This inference is as plausible as the version of the hot of consciousness on which is it based—in other words, in my view, not plausible at all. 6 This term is borrowed, with slight modification, from Sartre (1943/1957), who talks, alternately (and sometimes within the same sentence!), of pre-reflective awareness, non-positional self-awareness, non-thetic self-awareness, and unreflective awareness. I’ve plumped for ‘pre-intentional’, for entirely uninteresting reasons. 7 American football, gridiron. The example I describe is based on the well-known work of McBeath et al. (1995). Their study concerned the catching of a baseball rather than a football. 8 It is not, of course, the awareness of the desire to enact the contingencies in order to exact certain consequences. Compare perception: it is awareness of the relation between contingencies and consequences that is crucial, not one’s awareness about one’s beliefs concerning the relation between contingencies and consequences. 9 The following remarks of Sartre (1943/1957, p. 13) are entirely typical of the attitude toward pre-intentional self-awareness and its relation to intentional self-awareness in the post-Kantian tradition: ‘If I count the cigarettes which are in that case … it is very possible that I have no positional consciousness of counting them … Yet at the moment when these cigarettes are revealed to me as a dozen, I have a non-thetic consciousness of my adding activity. If anyone questioned me, indeed, if anyone should ask, “What are you doing there?” I should reply at once, “I am counting” … Thus reflection has no primacy over the consciousness reflected on. It is not reflection that reveals the consciousness reflected on to itself. Quite the contrary, it is the non-reflective consciousness which renders the reflection possible; there is a pre-reflective cogito which is the condition of the Cartesian cogito.’ Pre-intentional self-awareness, in other words, is more basic than, and makes possible the existence of, intentional self-awareness. 10 See Rowlands (2018, ch. 7) for extended development of this idea. This is a version of an apparatus borrowed from situated semantics: the idea of a function from context to content. The late Jerry Fodor used this apparatus very imaginatively in explaining the idea of narrow content; see Fodor (1986, ch. 3). 11 Which they seem to do, incidentally, in precisely the same way a wide receiver catches a football, or an outfielder a baseball. See Shaffer et al. (2004). References Clark Andy 2016: Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action and the Embodied Mind . New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Evans Gareth 1982: The Varieties of Reference . Edited by McDowell John. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fodor Jerry 1986: Psychosemantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind . Cambridge, MA: mit Press. Gallup Gordon 1970: ‘ Chimpanzees: Self-Recognition’. Science , 167( 3914), pp. 86– 7. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed Gallup Gordon 1982: ‘ Self-Awareness and the Emergence of Mind in Primates’. American Journal of Primatology , 2( 3), pp. 237– 48. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Heathwood Chris 2007: ‘ The Reduction of Sensory Pleasure to Desire’. Philosophical Studies , 133( 1), pp. 23– 44. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hohwy Jakob 2013: The Predictive Mind . New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Husserl Edmund 1907/1997: Thing and Space: Lectures of 1907 . Translated and edited by Rojcewicz Richard. Dordrecht: Springer. Kant Immanuel 1781/1787: Critique of Pure Reason . Translated by Norman Kemp Smith, with an introduction by Howard Caygill and a new bibliography by Gary Banham. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Korsgaard Christine M. 2018: ‘Prospects for a Naturalistic Explanation of the Good’. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92, pp. 111–31. McBeath M. K., Shaffer D. M., Kaiser M. K. 1995: ‘ How Baseball Outfielders Determine Where to Run to Catch Fly Balls’. Science , 268( 5210), pp. 569– 73. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed Noë Alva 2004: Action in Perception . Cambridge, MA: mit Press. Perry John 1979: ‘ The Problem of the Essential Indexical’. Noûs , 13( 1), pp. 3– 21. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Rowlands Mark 2016: ‘ Are Animals Persons?’ Animal Sentience , 10( 1), pp. 1– 19. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Rowlands Mark 2018: Can Animals Be Persons? New York: Oxford University Press. Sartre Jean-Paul 1943/1957: Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology . Translated by Barnes Hazel E.. London: Methuen. Schroeder Timothy 2001: ‘ Pleasure, Displeasure and Representation’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy , 31( 4), pp. 507– 30. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Shaffer D. M., Krauchunas S. M., Eddy M., McBeath M. K. 2004: ‘ How Dogs Navigate to Catch Frisbees’. Psychological Science , 15( 7), pp. 437– 41. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed Shoemaker Sydney 1968: ‘ Self-Reference and Self-Awareness’. Journal of Philosophy , 65, pp. 555– 67. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Sidgwick Henry 1874: Methods of Ethics . Indianapolis: Hackett, 1981. Wittgenstein Ludwig 1953: Philosophical Investigations . Translated by Anscombe G. E. M.. Oxford: Blackwell. © 2018 The Aristotelian Society This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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