forthcoming in Philosophical Studies
An important objection to the “higher-order” theory of consciousness turns on the possibility of higher-order misrepresentation. I argue that the objection fails because it illicitly assumes a characterization of consciousness explicitly rejected by HO theory. This in turn raises the question of what justifies an initial characterization of the data a theory of consciousness must explain. I distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic characterizations of consciousness, and I propose several desiderata a successful characterization of consciousness must meet. I then defend the particular extrinsic characterization of the HO theory, the “transitivity principle,” against its intrinsic rivals, thereby showing that the misrepresentation objection conclusively falls short.