Ned Block has recently pressed a new criticism of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness. HOT proponents have responded in turn. The exchange affords a chance to find some clarity concerning the essential commitments of HOT, as well as a chance to find clarity on the issues that divide Block and HOT proponents. In this paper I discuss the recent exchange, and I draw some lessons. First, I side with HOT proponents in arguing that the new criticism presents no new problem for HOT. Second, I argue that the issues separating Block and HOT proponents suggest that two separate debates are being conflated, and I suggest that keeping them distinct will yield progress for consciousness studies.

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Journal Journal of Consciousness Studies
Shepherd, J. (2013). Why Block can't stand the HOT. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(3-4), 183–195.