The Dilemmas of the Dual Channel: Reid on Consciousness and Reflection

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 1 (2):141-155 (2003)
As an advocate of the empirical method in both science and philosophy, Reid believed that the central method for studying the mind should be internal observation, whose evidence he believed to be the most reliable in comparison with all other mental operations. The fact that his contemporary “science of mind” was not as highly developed as the natural sciences was explained by Reid to be the fault of philosophers, such as John Locke, who “confounded” two completely different powers of the mind: consciousness and reflection. In this paper I will present Reid's criticism of Locke, as well as Reid's own attempt to distinguish between consciousness and reflection, and the difficulties he is facing in this process. The paper concludes that Reid failed to depart from the essential Lockean characterizations of inner awareness, because of his failure to dissociate from premises he shares with Locke – such as the belief that we are conscious of all our thoughts, and the primacy of the introspective method in studying the mind. Therefore, while narrowing his concept of consciousness to an internal-sense, perceiving only present mental operations, he broadens respectively his concept of reflection.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles
    Rebecca Copenhaver (2006). Is Thomas Reid a Mysterian? Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):449-466.
    Kevin Scharp (2008). Locke's Theory of Reflection. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (1):25 – 63.
    Alan Tapper (2002). Reid and Priestley on Method and the Mind. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):511-525.
    Keith Lehrer (2008). Consciousness AND REGRESS. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (1):45-57.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    8 ( #138,555 of 1,088,426 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,426 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.