Graduate studies at Western
Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (1):45-57 (2008)
|Abstract||Thomas Reid has a theory of consciousness that is central to his philosophy of mind but which raises a regress problem. I have two tasks in this paper. The first is to give an account of Reid's views on consciousness and the avoidance of the regress based on textual analysis. The second is to expand the theory of consciousness Reid gives to offer a deeper explanation of how the regress is avoided that is based on Reid's philosophy of mind but goes beyond any text from Reid that I know. The distinction is important. Philosophers are inclined to attribute to a philosopher views that they have invented by studying the philosopher. Both textual analysis and invention based on a philosopher's writings are legitimate uses of the history of philosophy. When they are confused, however, arguments about what the philosopher held generate confusion. If you invent something from his or her philosophy, even something implied by it, that is your philosophy, not the philosopher's. The distinction is important for avoiding useless disputes. This first part of my paper is an attempt to remain true to the texts of Reid. The second part goes beyond the text, though it is what I extrapolate from Reid|
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