CONSCIOUSNESS AND REALITY
Das, was einmal gesehen, das Auffallendste und Stärkste ist, fällt uns nicht auf.
The main purpose of this paper is to show that there is an essential link between the concepts of consciousness and reality and to explain how this link is established and preserved in what seem to me to be the main forms of consciousness. Apart from the conceptual investigation in itself, my purpose is therapeutic in Wittgenstein’s sense: I wish to dispel some possible metaphysical speculations by showing that there is a necessary, but completely non-mysterious internal link between these two concepts.
The central point I wish to emphasize is that consciousness must always be awareness of how things really are. After all, consciousness must be an evolutionary product aiming to reflect reality in order to enable the conscious organism to interact successfully with the world. If mind has a receptive, perceptual dimension, and an active, volitional dimension, consciousness belongs to the receptive dimension because of its function of reflecting reality, even if this has consequences for action. I do not see any need to prove that the function of consciousness is to reflect how things really are because I find this an intuitive and almost trivial insight. Nonetheless, this is an important triviality and can easily be overlooked if it is not spelled out in some detail.
To elucidate this point further, I begin by accepting a complementary and also almost obvious assumption, namely, that consciousness always involves representational experience. Concerning representations, it is essential to remember that they can be veridical or non-veridical. A veridical representation can be regarded as one that is either correct for a given individual or a given property, or true for a fact (understood as an umbrella term for given situations, circumstances, states of affairs, events and processes). Assuming this, I define a veridical representation as a representation that represents what it is aimed to represent. We can say that a representation represents what it is aimed to represent when it represents things (individuals, properties, facts) as they really are. But what are things as they really are? The answer is: they are at least those things that we are reasonably able to accept as being what they appear to be when we represent them, at least as far as they are things that would be apt to be seen as real for us, under circumstances of interpersonal agreement. Now, my proposal is that a necessary condition for consciousness is that it involves some kind of veridical representation. This brings us to the connection between consciousness and reality: in a sense, a representation is conscious at least when it is veridical, namely, when it represents what it is aimed to represent, that is, when it represents things as they really are for us.
An example can be helpful: suppose I believe I see a snake near my feet. Now, it seems that one can say that I am conscious of a snake near my feet only when this state of affairs is real. This means that in this case the representation of the snake, which is involved in my visual experience of the snake, must represent what it is aimed to represent, namely, the physically real snake. If my experience were illusory, one could not say that I am effectively conscious of a snake near my feet, since the depicted state of affairs would not be physically real. The non-veridical representation represents what it is not aimed to represent, in this case, the illusory snake, which compromises my awareness of what is happening. In other words: I am conscious of a snake near my feet when I have a veridical representation of a snake, namely, when it corresponds to what it is aimed to represent and when what is aimed to be represented is able to be interpersonally accepted as the real thing.
These considerations make it plausible to think that a person can be called conscious insofar as she has a sufficient amount of veridical representations. This would be what may be called global consciousness, relative to the living being as such. It can be argued that even when we say that a person has moral consciousness (conscience), what we mean is that she is able to have a fair, that is, a veridical representation of the moral circumstances involved in her actions.
In what follows, I offer support for the view sketched above. In order to do this I will expose and briefly discuss three main kinds of consciousness, which may be called sensory, reflexive and thinking consciousness. This distinction has the theoretical advantage of being able to encompassing in the simplest way most of what we naturally and meaningfully call conscious phenomena. After the presentation of each of these kinds of consciousness, I will show how the proposed relationship between consciousness and reality fits with each of them.
The first kind of consciousness is what David Armstrong called perceptual consciousness, which I prefer to call sensory consciousness. This is the most primary form of consciousness, which can be seen as the:
Sensory representation of things outside of us and of our own bodies.
Sensory consciousness involves being awake, aware and responsive to the environment. It involves some level of cognition regarding the processes of perceiving things in the external world and of sensing what is going on in our own bodies. This sense of the word is very common: physicians speak of a loss of consciousness when referring to a patient in a coma and as a diagnostic method they used to squirt cold water into the ears of patients to see whether they would react. When John Searle wrote that consciousness is what we regain when we wake up in the morning, and what we lose when we fall into a dreamless sleep, or lapse into a coma, or die, he was having in mind above all the regaining and loss of consciousness in this primary sense. Our knowledge of sensory consciousness is indirect, grounded first on third-person experience and then on first-person access based on reflexive consciousness, as we will see.
This is the most primitive form of consciousness. Even mice can have it, for a mouse can sensory react to the world outside it and to what is going on in its own body. Indeed, if a mouse is sedated with chloroform, we say that the mouse has lost consciousness, meaning consciousness in its sensory form.
A problem that emerges here is that of the boundaries of consciousness. If being conscious is to perceive the world and sense ourselves, then it seems that too many organisms are conscious. A bee, an ant, a shrimp are able to perceive the world in some sense of the word. But we would not say that these animals are conscious. I once read a headline in a newspaper: ‘Scientists have discovered that flies are conscious’. I didn’t need to read the article to conclude that this could not be true, and there is a reasonable justification for my reaction. As with many psychological concepts, the term consciousness can only be used in referring to creatures that display a sufficient degree of mental and behavioral complexity. Consider, for example, the concept of understanding. It is different from the concept of perceiving. Although we may say that flies and shrimps are in some way able to perceive the world, it is awkward to say that they are able to understand anything. Why? Because the concept of understanding applies only to creatures able to display sufficiently complex behavior. We are not inclined to say that insects have or lose or regain sensory consciousness, it seems, because they do not have anything near to our sensory-perceptual experience. It is true that the concept of consciousness does not have a sharp boundary, but although its domains include even mice, the wisdom of the language suggests that it would be senseless to extend them much further.
Finally, the concept of sensory consciousness does justice to the fact that consciousness is a biological phenomenon. Biological beings are so different from mechanical automatons that consciousness could not be expected in the latter. Although a photographic camera is able to make pictures that represent states of affairs, it does not do this of itself, since the pictures lack psychological intentions and biologically grounded aims; they require an interpreter who sees the picture as representing some state of affairs. This is also a reason to think that computers will never be able to represent anything in a veridical way and that a non-biological machine will never be conscious.
Sensory consciousness and reality
Returning to our main point: sensory consciousness involves the necessary condition of consciousness, that of representing things and facts as they really are. If the aim is to perceptually represent things in a veridical way and succeed in this, we are said to be primarily conscious. Even the mouse must aim to represent the cat as it really is, and not as a piece of cheese, for its own sake (this aim can be inferred from the manifest behaviors of mice, and does not imply an attribution of intentionality).
It is important to note that when we speak about sensory consciousness, we are not usually linking it with the veridicality of a representation alone, but rather with a cluster of representations. Consider, for example, a man suffering from delirium tremens. In this condition, he may lie writhing on a bed, trembling, sweating, uttering incoherent groans and suffering all sorts of tactile and visual hallucinations of disgusting creatures attacking him, while he twists and turns and tries to protect himself. His consciousness is said to be confused. Indeed, we could say that he lacks sensory consciousness of the world around him, although not completely.
This is also a reason why we are not very inclined to say that dreams are conscious. Dreams are non-veridical representations, because they do not correspond to what the dreamer believes he is representing, since the content of these representations is something that on reflection he would not be willing to accept as real. Therefore, in this sense they cannot be conscious. However, a truly prophetic dream, foreseeing a future real state of affairs, could be seen as a work of consciousness, since it would be veridical. This clairvoyant dream could even be said to be ‘super-conscious’.
We can explain the kind of non-veridicality of dreams, recurring to two domains of reality. The first is that of concrete reality, of reality as such: of things involving us, of our bodies, and even of qualitative subjective states like feelings, as we originally experience them. The second domain is that of reality as if, the kind of fictional reality that is assigned to dream images, to hallucinations, to projected images in a dream, which only imitate concrete reality. Under this assumption, we can say that the lack of consciousness in a dream arises from a category mistake: in dreaming the person believes that she is representing concrete reality, since this is what she aims to represent; however, what she really manages to represent is only fictional reality. This is why the representations in a dream can be said to be non-veridical and therefore non-conscious. If the intention were only to represent fictional reality, they would be veridical and therefore conscious. This is also a reason why day-dream is said to be conscious. It is because its representations are veridical, that is, they represent what they are meant to represent, namely, only a kind of fictional reality.
The second and more important kind of consciousness is what we could call reflexive consciousness. Reflexive consciousness or self-consciousness can be seen as the:
cognitive representation of one’s own mental states.
This simultaneous cognitive/representative experience of our internal mental states is what we may call reflexive cognition, which can have as its objects all kinds of mental states: sensations, feelings, desires, perceptions and even thoughts and beliefs. (Since many first-order mental states are already cognitive or representative, their second-order reflexive cognitions can be correctly called meta-cognitions or meta-representations.) Reflexive consciousness is consciousness in capital letters. It is typically, if not properly human. Great apes can have it, but not mice and not even a newborn human infant. 
As an example of how reflexive consciousness makes a difference, imagine that you have a nearly imperceptible toothache all day long, but that you simply ignore it. However, when you pay attention to it, you see that the feeling is there, and the language allows you to say that your toothache is conscious. Now, when you pay attention to the state of discomfort, what you have is at least a suitable reflexive cognition or belief about this state. It is this reflexive consciousness that makes people truly conscious, and a piece of evidence for this is that you are able to report verbally, saying that you have headache.
Reflexive consciousness was already compared by Armstrong with the self-scanning process of a computer. He gave an important explanation for the emergence of reflexive consciousness (called by him ‘introspective consciousness’). His suggestion is that through evolution the mental processes of living beings have become more and more complex and sophisticated; as this occurred, mental processes gave rise to urges that led to their being simultaneously monitored, that is, controlled, organized and directed by a higher instance. This higher instance, we could add, consists in what is responsible for reflexive consciousness, that is, suitable cognitions of lower-order mental states.
The main objection to the monitoring hypothesis is that reflexive cognitions are thoughts generated by the simultaneous lower-order mental states and that these reflexive cognitions (usually second-order cognitions) have, therefore, no causal powers concerning the lower-order mental states that have generated them. However, this consequence is unnecessary for two reasons: the first is that the reflexive cognitions that make the lower-states conscious seem to be generated by our attention to the lower states and not by the lower states alone; the second is that according to the causal theory of action, reasons can have causal effects, and reasons are nothing more than beliefs plus desires (volitions). If we accept this, it is easy to understand that the suitable reflexive cognitions, being asserted thoughts, that is, beliefs, when adequately associated with volitions moving our attention, could also possess causal powers. By their association with volitions, reflexive cognitions would be able to control the lower order states of mind and in this way to influence actions derived from them.
As first-order mental events can usually be seen as representations, reflexive consciousness of them must involve suitable reflexive representations or metacognitions. Because of this we can speak about reflexive consciousness in two ways: in a relational way – as transitive consciousness – by saying that we are conscious of our first-order states, and in a non-relational way – as state consciousness – by saying that first-order mental states are conscious. Thus, I can say that I am conscious of my feelings for Suzy (relational or transitive consciousness), but I can also say that my feelings for Suzy are conscious (non-relational or state consciousness). These reflexive representations are what make us conscious of first-order mental states. But they are not able to make us conscious of themselves. In order to reach consciousness, they would need to be the objects of meta-reflexive cognitions (usually meta-meta-cognitions), and so on. As Rosenthal noted, writing about this point, the thought at the top always remains beyond the reach of consciousness.
It is interesting to consider the relation between reflexive and sensory consciousness. We are only able to achieve a first-person awareness of our sensory consciousness because we are able to have reflexive cognitions/representations of the sensory and perceptual states belonging to the latter. Therefore, in our view, perceptual consciousness is paradoxically a non-conscious kind of consciousness. (A cat can recognize a dog and be afraid of it, but probably it cannot be conscious that it is facing its arch-enemy or even of its own fear.)
Finally, the adoption of the concepts of reflexive plus sensory consciousness helps us to explain some interesting empirical phenomena.
1) Somnambulism: sleepwalkers can sit up in bed, walk, and even do hazardous activities without being awake, being later unable to remember what they have done. Here, as Armstrong would say, the system of reflexive consciousness is switched off, while the system of sensory consciousness continues to operate.
2) Blind-sight: subjects with blind-sight cannot see, but they can guess correctly what appears in the blind half of their visual field, and in some cases they can even catch objects tossed in front of them when prompted and even move around objects. The cause of blind-sight is a lesion in the region V1 of the visual cortex, where the information that comes from more primitive regions of the brain is integrated and processed. The explanation could be that, although the subject still has sensory visual consciousness, he has lost the capacity for reflexive consciousness of visual states. This would be the reason why he is not conscious of seeing anything.
3) Benjamin Libet’s experiments: in these well-known experiments, the agent is teach to make a movement after a stimulus. After the stimulus there is an unconscious build up of electrical charge within the brain called readiness potential (Bereitschaftspotential) corresponding to the decision to act. However, the awareness of the decision – which occurs ~200 milliseconds before the movement – occurs ~350 milliseconds after the readiness potential, showing that the decision is made before it is consciously taken.
The explanation would be that, although sensory consciousness arises simultaneously with the readiness potential, reflexive consciousness arises only ~350 milliseconds later. The readiness potential, resulting from the fact that the agent has already being teach about the reaction he should have after the given stimulation, demonstrates the presence of sensory consciousness, while the monitoring function of reflexive consciousness is made evident by the fact that the agent is still able to suppress or withhold the action in the next ~200 milliseconds, as Libet’s experiments also show. In my view these experiments not only show the extension to which sensory consciousness is in itself unconscious, but also confirms the existence and role of reflexive consciousness.
4) Lucid dreams: these are dreams in which we are aware that we are dreaming and that we can steer in different directions, according to our own will. These dreams, also called conscious dreams, have greater clarity and, after we wake up, are more easily and clearly remembered than most dreams. Reflexive consciousness could explain this: dream processes become more conscious when we gain a suitable metacognitive representation of them.
Integrative dimension of reflexive consciousness
The main alternatives to the idea of reflexive consciousness are what we may call the integrationist views. According to these views, conscious states are not properly those that are the object of reflexive cognitions, but those that can be well integrated into the system of mental states of the conscious person and with her motor system, that is, with her action and speech. Indeed, unconscious mental states are more or less isolated: one cannot make them conscious by means of their usual association with other cognitive states. Moreover, they remain usually unrelated to the motor system, particularly to speech, as we see in cases of non-reportable subliminal perception. Based on this, one can held the idea that repressed and subliminal states are unconscious, not because we do not have a metacognition of them, but because we are unable to integrate them sufficiently with the other mental states of the system. Thus, it seems that there are two competitive ways to explain state consciousness: the integrative and the reflexive one.
At this point I would like to offer a conciliatory hunch. My proposal is that integration is typically mediated by reflexive cognition, which has some kind of binding property: the property of integrating the first-order state referred to by it with a system of others states. We can remember here Bernard Baar’s metaphor of the theater of consciousness in his global workspace theory of consciousness – an integrationist theory. According to this metaphor, a conscious state is a mental state under the spotlight of the reflector of attention, which enables this state to be ‘broadcasted’ to the whole auditory of pre-conscious and unconscious states. I find this a good metaphor. But I would add that a suitable reflexive cognition is the very spotlight controlled by the reflector of attention. This view is not without intuitive appeal: when we become aware of a mental state, we inevitably recognize it by cognitive means. However, in doing this we are inevitably relating the state with others, and – actually or potentially – with the whole system, including the motor system.
To exemplify this point, consider the case of a man suffering a seizure of temporal epilepsy. He is able to act and even speak, showing some integration. But since this integration is comparatively deficient, it is used to say that he has ‘a narrowed field of consciousness’. But together with this there is a lack of reflexive consciousness, since he does not remember what he has done after being awaken. According to the view I am suggesting, reflexive cognition and integration go together because reflexive cognition is a way of improving integration.
Finally, my conciliatory hunch also suggests an answer to what some theoreticians consider the main objection against cognitivist-reflexive views of consciousness, namely, that they do not provide a criterion for distinguishing a reflexive cognition that makes a mental state conscious from a reflexive cognition that does not. The answer is: the binding property of a non-inferential and simultaneous reflexive cognition should be the criterion. What makes the reflexive cognition suitable for consciousness is that it has the binding property of integrating the lower-order state referred to by it with a whole system of mental states.
Reflexive consciousness and reality
Returning to our Leitfaden: Just as with sensory consciousness, reflexive consciousness also involves veridical representation. The difference is that reflexive consciousness (considered in its relational sense) does not consist in veridical (meta)representations of sensed or perceived states of affairs, but rather in veridical (meta)representations of lower-level mental states. However, we can only say that we are conscious of these first-order mental states because they are in some way veridically represented: they are represented as they really are. If these (meta)representations are not veridical, then we cannot say that lower-level states are really conscious, or even that we are conscious of what is represented by them. Consider, for example, the case of someone who constantly lies to himself about his sensations, feelings, thoughts; if he consistently reads them incorrectly in his mind, he will be said to be someone who lacks self-consciousness.
A first case of non-veridical representation producing lack of consciousness concerns feelings. In Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado about Nothing, Benedick and Beatrice love one another, but because of their pride they prefer to believe that they hate one another deeply. Perceiving what is going on, they friends decide to help them. They tell each one separately that the other is suffering to death because of hidden love. This is sufficient to make them conscious that they are in love with the other and to give their story its happy end. Now, it is only when they are allowed to make a veridical representation of their real feeling – the repressed feeling of love – that this feeling can get conscious. Weren’t they earlier conscious of their hate? Yes, since they had a veridical representation of their defensive hate. But we cannot then say that they were aware of their true feelings, for they had no veridical representation of them.
Another case is that of lucid dreams. Dreams, as is commonly said, are not conscious. But a lucid dream is said to have a certain level of consciousness. It is even called a ‘conscious dream’. Why? Because it involves a veridical metacognitive representation of the dreaming process or, as we could also say, of fictional reality in its fictional character, namely, as it really is. Indeed, we can have a bad dream that nearly awakes us, and then, half-awaken, we say to ourselves: ‘This is only a dream’. This case also shows that the veridicality of suitable meta-cognitions concerning the represented mental states is essential to reflexive consciousness.
A particularly important case is that of conscious perception, which is in fact reflexive consciousness of a sensory consciousness that is perceptual. When the object of a reflexive representation is a perceptual representation, that is, something belonging to sensory perceptual consciousness (which is already cognitive), the reflexive representation is aimed to be doubly veridical: it must be (i) a veridical metacognitive representation of (ii) a veridical perceptual representation of empirical things and facts. For example: If I am reflexively aware that I am perceiving a snake near my feet, I must be veridically aware of my veridical sensory perception of this fact, namely, of the real snake near my real feet.
One could still object that subliminal perceptions are veridical, but not conscious. However, they are not just conscious in the reflexive sense of the word. We say that they are veridical because we get a third person acknowledgement that we are sensorially conscious of them. As such, they are standard examples of what we already called unconscious consciousness.
A last and more controversial point: I believe that we need to add one more kind of consciousness in order to accommodate some resilient intuitions. It seems that in many cases we are said to be conscious of things that are neither objects of present perceptual or sensorial or emotional experience, that are not personal memories, and that are not simultaneously meta-represented by given mental states. For example: I am conscious that
The Moon is made of rock.
I cannot go to the movie and to my preferred restaurant at the same time.
The total amount of matter and energy in an isolated system remains constant over time.
The sum of the internal angles of a Euclidean triangle is 180º.
We may call these affirmed contents of consciousness mediated thoughts, since they are beliefs supported by other thoughts about states of affairs that are not presently given to experience. It is true that such mediated thoughts can be accompanied by reflexive meta-cognitions: we can think about them. But isn’t true that when we think them without thinking about them we are already in some measure conscious of them? Is it not the case that their own existence entails the consciousness of their contents? So it seems: if I really think that Schliemann discovered
or that the energy remains the same in closed systems, I cannot be unaware of the facts reported by these thoughts, even if I am not meta-cognitively conscious of my thinking of them. Troy
I believe that it is because of the fact that alone the existence of such mediated thoughts is sufficient to give us consciousness of their contents, that some philosophers have maintained that conscious mental states intrinsically generate reflexive higher-order representations. However, we know that this view is implausible, not only because in this case there would be no unconscious mental states, but because this view lacks intuitive evidence.
My proposal is not that mediated thoughts are conscious of themselves, since this would be the function of a metacognitive or reflexive awareness of them. My proposal is that they are conscious in themselves because their representative function gives them a conscious-making function beyond that of sensory consciousness. They are like crystals reflecting veridical information coming from other thoughts and from experiences. They have a multi-representative role. Consider the thought that I cannot go to the cinema and to my preferred restaurant at the same time. I am conscious of the content of this thought without having a metacognitive or reflexive awareness of it because this thought-content can only be appreciated against some representation of perceptual experiences that are themselves representations of external states of affairs. If it is so, thinking consciousness is not a form of unconscious consciousness, like sensory consciousness; it works somewhat like reflexive consciousness. It must in some way makes us aware of the sensory experiences or of formal principles implied in the mediated thoughts. Complementarily, the mediated thoughts also gain their conscious status by reaching a more nodal position in our network of beliefs, which endows them with an increased integrative power – a nodal position that cannot be separated from their multi-representative function.
Thinking consciousness and reality
Finally, mediated thoughts must be veridical representations supported in a variety of ways by representations ultimately grounded on sensory experience and/or formal principles. Thinking consciousness demands a cluster of veridical representation, even without directly involving the present experience of their ultimate perceptual or formal truth-makers. On the other hand, the non-veridical representation of the states of affairs involved in thinking consciousness will limit or hinder consciousness. So, one cannot be conscious that the Moon is made of green cheese or that energy can be created from nothing, since these are false claims (though a person can be conscious in and of having these beliefs).
What I have presented here is only a programmatic sketch sustained by argumentative coherence. However, I hope I have offered some confirmation for the view that consciousness unavoidably involves veridical representation. It seems that the veridicality of the representation is essential, in the sense of being a necessary feature of the three kinds of consciousness briefly examined here. Moreover, we may guess whether precisely the veridicality of the involved representations isn’t the feature that originally brought these three kinds of consciousness together under the same concept. For it seems clear that they are kinds of consciousness because they are distinctive means used by the mind to grasp reality.
 We fail to be struck by what, once seem, is most striking and most powerful.
 I chose the word ‘aim’ instead of the word ‘intention’, because the concept of intention often presupposes consciousness, which makes it unsatisfactory when we are trying to elucidate consciousness. The word ‘aim’, to the contrary, is humble enough: we can say that a spider aims to build its web, without implying that the spider has such an intention. Here the aim is a teleological embodiment of evolutionary achievements.
 See David Armstrong, ‘What is Consciousness?’ in his The Nature of Mind (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980), pp. 55-67. The expression ‘perceptual consciousness’ is suggestive but somewhat misleading: if a person has a headache, she has perceptual consciousness of it; however, she is not perceiving, but rather feeling her headache. The same holds for emotions or feelings: feelings are felt, not perceived, though feelings alone cannot in my view be conscious.
 John R. Searle, Consciousness and Language (
Cambridge: Press, 2002), p. 7. Cambridge University
 The reflexive theory of consciousness has its origins in the philosophical tradition. But it was introduced into the contemporary philosophy of mind by David Armstrong in the already mentioned paper as a higher-order perception theory. David Rosenthal has over the years developed a detailed version of the reflexive view of consciousness as demanding a simultaneous and suitable higher-order thought about a lower-level state in order to make it conscious. If we understand words like ‘perception’ and ‘internal vision’ in the first theory as mere metaphors and the word ‘thought’ in the second theory as a mere act of cognitive experience that does not necessarily requires language, then both theories tend to collapse into a single one, for a higher-order cognitive representation or experience seems to be an inevitable common element of both. Only the emphases are different. I also think that Rosenthal is mistaken in believing that his theory is incompatible with Armstrong’s and W. C. Lycan’s view that reflexive consciousness has a monitoring function, as the development of my text shows. In my exposition, I try to be neutral and use the vague and ambiguous term cognition as something assumed in both views. See D. M. Armstrong, Mind-Body Problem: An Opinionated Introduction (Boulder: Westview Press, 1999), pp. 114-120; see also W. C. Lycan, Consciousness and Experience (
Cambrige Mass.: MIT Press, 1996), chap. 2. For an introduction to Rosenthal’s views, see his ‘Explaining Consciousness’, in D. J. Chalmers (ed.): Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings ( : Oxford University Press, 2002). New York
 There is also primary or sensory consciousness of pain, since neurophysiology shows that sensations have a representational structure that should reflect states of the body. See, for example, C. S. Hill: Consciousness (
: Cambridge University Press, 2009), chap. 6. Cambridge
By sustaining that consciousness involves representation of how things are, I am committed to the view that there is no consciousness without representation. This commitment finds no difficulty regarding cognitive states like perceptions, beliefs, wishes and desires. Emotions, however, seem to be an exception, since they are not representational. However, we can always be conscious of emotions as objects of representation, and when this occurs, the language also allow us to say that they are conscious states. Consequently, my depression cannot be sensory conscious. The better I can do is to say that my depression is conscious if I have a true reflexive cognition/representation of my own feeling of depression.
 David Armstrong, ‘What is Consciousness?’ in The Nature of Mind, pp. 65-66.
 See David Rosenthal: ‘Consciousness and its Function’, Neuropsychologia , 46, 3 (2008), 829-840.
 The distinction between a relational and a non-relational way can be found in Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Philosophy (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1970), chap. XX. David Rosenthal and most theorists call these ways of speaking about consciousness respectively transitive and intransitive/state consciousness.
 Defenders of first-order theories of consciousness tend to reduce state consciousness to sensory consciousness; as a result, they have difficulties to explain the unconsciousness of many states of awareness. As an example of first-order theory, see Fred Dretske, Naturalizing the Mind (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1994).
 Integrationist views of consciousness were already maintained by tinkers from Kant to Freud. But they have been, in different ways, emphasized in the contemporary philosophy of consciousness by Daniel Dennett (with his claim that consciousness is cerebral celebrity), by Ned Block (with his definition of access-consciousness as the poising of a state for free use in reasoning and for directing action), by Bernard Baars (with the view that consciousness is the broadcasting of content under the spotlight of attention for the global mental workspace), by G. M. Edelman and Giulio Tononi (with the idea that consciousness corresponds to the brain ability to integrate information), and by many others.
 B. J. Baars: In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)
 Reflexive cognition is not the only way to achieve integration. As we will see, also thinking consciousness could have an integrative dimension, and we should not confuse them.
 William Seager: Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 82.