Many have urged that the biggest obstacles to a physicalistic understanding of consciousness are the problems raised in connection with the subjectivity of consciousness. These problems are most acutely expressed in consideration of the knowledge argument against physicalism. I develop a novel account of the subjectivity of consciousness by explicating the ways in which mental representations may be perspectival. Crucial features of my account involve analogies between the representations involved in sensory experience and the ways in which pictorial (...) representations exhibit perspectives or points of view. I argue that the resultant account of subjectivity provides a basis for the strongest response physicalists can give to the knowledge argument. (shrink)
This paper argues that it is possible for suffering to occur in the absence of phenomenal consciousness – in the absence of a certain sort of experiential subjectivity, that is. (Phenomenal consciousness is the property that some mental states possess, when it is like something to undergo them, or when they have subjective feels, or possess qualia.) So even if theories of phenomenal consciousness that would withhold such consciousness from most species of non-human animal are correct, this neednt mean (...) that those animals dont suffer, and arent appropriate objects of sympathy and concern. (shrink)
The phenomena of human consciousness and subjectivity are explored from the perspective of affect-logic, a comprehensive meta-theory of the interactions between emotion and cognition based mainly on cognitive and social psychology, psychopathology, neurobiology Piaget?s genetic epistemology, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary science. According to this theory, overt or covert affective-cognitive interactions are obligatorily present in all mental activity, seemingly ?neutral? thinking included. Emotions continually exert numerous so-called operator-effects, both linear and nonlinear, on attention, on memory and on comprehensive thought, or logic (...) in a broad sense. They deeply ?affect? also consciousness and subjectivity, as showed by the analysis of four crucially involved phenomena, namely (1) attention, (2) abstraction, (3) language, and (4) the prevailing affective state. The conclusion is that neither consciousness nor subjectiovity can be adequately understood without fully considering their emotional aspects. (shrink)
The phenomenal properties of conscious mental states happen to be exclusively accessible from the first-person perspective. Consequently, some philosophers consider their existence to be incompatible with materialist metaphysics. In this paper I criticise one particular argument that is based on the idea that for something to be real it must (at least in principle) be accessible from an intersubjective perspective. I argue that the exclusively subjective access to phenomenal contents can be explained by the very particular nature of the epistemological (...) relation holding between a subject and his own mental states. Accordingly, this subjectivity does not compel us to deny the possibility that phenomenal contents are ontologically objective properties. First, I present the general form of the argument that I will discuss. Second, I show that this argument makes use of a criterion of reality that is not applicable to the case of subjective experience. Third, I discuss a plausible objection and give an argument for rejecting observation models of self-knowledge of phenomenal contents. These models fall prey to the homunculus illusion. (shrink)
This is a brief and accessible English summary of the "Self-model Theory of Subjectivity" (SMT), which is only available as German book in this archive. It introduces two new theoretical entities, the "phenomenal self-model" (PSM) and the "phenomenal model of the intentionality-relation" PMIR. A representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person persepctive is offered. This is a revised version, including two pictures.
In this paper, I draw on the mutually implicated structures of tragedy and self-formation found in Hegel’s use of Sophocles’ Antigone in the Phenomenology. By emphasizing the apparent distinction between particular and universal in Hegel’s reading of the tragedies in Antigone, I propose that a tragedy of action (which particularizes a universal) is inescapable for subjectivity understood as socially constituted and always already socially engaged. I consider universal/particular relations in three communities: Hegel’s Greek polis, his community of conscience, and (...) my reading of certain feminist communities. The position I propose establishes a ground from which to approach subjects, and implies that all subjects may be understood as the result of relations embodying potential tragedy. This speaks to contemporary concerns about marginalization, identity articulation, and relations of recognition. (shrink)
Since the publication of the Philosophical Investigations in 1953, Wittgenstein''s later philosophy of mind has been the subject of numerous books and articles. Although most commentators agree that Wittgenstein was neither a behaviorist nor a Cartesian dualist, many continue to ascribe to him a position that strongly resembles one of the alternatives. In contrast, this paper argues that Wittgenstein was strongly opposed to behaviorism and Cartesianism, and that he was concerned to show that these positions implicitly share a problematic assumption. (...) This assumption is a seemingly innocent idea that subjectivity, or mind, is some kind of object or thing. The paper provides a detailed survey of Wittgenstein''s critique of Cartesianism and behaviorism, as well as an outline of Wittgenstein''s alternative account of subjectivity. (shrink)
I distinguish between naïve phenomenology and really existing phenomenology, a distinction that is too often ignored. As a consequence, the weaknesses inherent in naïve phenomenology are mistakenly attributed to phenomenology. I argue that the critics of naïve phenomenology have unwittingly adopted a number of precisely those weaknesses they wish to point out. More precisely, I shall argue that Dennett’s criticism of the naïve or auto-phenomenological conception of subjectivity fails to provide a better understanding of the intended phenomenon.
I begin with the assumption that a philosophically significant tension exists today in feminist philosophy of religion between those subjects who seek to become divine and those who seek their identity in mutual recognition. My critical engagement with the ambiguous assertions of Luce Irigaray seeks to demonstrate, on the one hand, that a woman needs to recognize her own identity but, on the other hand, that each subject whether male or female must struggle in relation to the other in order (...) to maintain realism about life and death. No one can avoid the recognition that we are each given life but each of us also dies. In addition, I raise a more general, philosophical problem for analytic philosophers who attempt to read Continental philosophy of religion: how should philosophers interpret deliberately ambiguous assertions? For example, what does Irigaray mean in asserting, 'Divinity is what we need to become free, autonomous, sovereign'? To find an answer, I turn to the distinctively French readings of the Hegelian struggle for recognition which have preoccupied Continental philosophers especially since the first half of the last century. I explore the struggle for mutual recognition between women and men who must face the reality of life and death in order to avoid the projection of their fear of mortality onto the other sex. This includes a critical look at Irigaray's account of subjectivity and divinity. I turn to the French philosopher Michèle Le Doeuff in order to shift the focus from divinity to intersubjectivity. I conclude that taking seriously the struggle for mutual recognition between subjects forces contemporary philosophers of religion to be realist in their living and dying. With this in mind, the lesson from the Continent for philosophy of religion is that we must not stop yearning for recognition. Indeed, we must even risk our autonomy/divinity in seeking to recognize intersubjectivity. (shrink)
It has become almost commonplace to recognise that teaching is an embodied practice. Most analyses of teaching as embodied practice focus on the embodied nature of the teacher as subject. Here, we use Butler's concept of performativity to analyse the reiterated acts that are intelligible as—performatively constitute—teaching, rather of the teacher as subject. We suggest that this simultaneously helps explain the persistence of teaching as a narrow repertoire of actions recognisable as ‘teaching’, and the policing of conformity to teaching thus (...) embodied. However, like performatively accomplished subjectivity, this repertoire is unstable and ambiguous, and thus open to change and disruption. Moreover, teacher subjectivities may lead them to mobilise these possibilities of disruption. (shrink)
The conception of subjectivity developed by the German philosopher Hermann Schmitz (1927-) is especially suitable for cross-cultural investigations because its foundations lie in human experiences that are basic and universal. The paper has two aims. Firstly, to give an outline of Schmitz’s theory. Secondly, to show its usefulness (and its limits) by interpreting some Greek and Indian philosophers which, at the same time, represent certain main approaches to the problem of subjectivity.
A persistent puzzle for philosophers of science is the well-documented appeal made by scientists to their aesthetic emotions in the course of scientific research. Emotions are usually viewed as irremediably subjective, and thus of no epistemological interest. Yet, by denying an epistemic role for scientists’ emotional dispositions, philosophers find themselves in the awkward position of ignoring phenomena which scientists themselves often insist are of importance. This paper suggests a possible solution to this puzzle by challenging the wholesale identification of emotion (...) with subjectivity. The proposed method is a naturalistic and externalist one, calling for empirical investigation into the intersubjective processes by which scientists’ emotional dispositions become refined and attuned to specific objects of attention. The proposal is developed through a critical discussion of Michael Polanyi’s theory of scientific passions, as well as plant geneticist Barbara McClintock’s celebrated “feeling for the organism.”. (shrink)
Contemporary caution against anachronism in intellectual history, and the currently momentous theoretical emphasis on subjectivity in the philosophy of mind, are two prevailing conditions that set puzzling constraints for studies in the history of philosophical psychology. The former urges against assuming ideas, motives, and concepts that are alien to the historical intellectual setting under study, and combined with the latter suggests caution in relying on our intuitions regarding subjectivity due to the historically contingent characterizations it has attained in (...) contemporary philosophy of mind. In the face of these conditions, our paper raises a question of what we call non-textual (as opposed to contextual) standards of interpretation of historical texts, and proceeds to explore subjectivity as such a standard. Non-textual standards are defined as (heuristic) postulations of features of the world or our experience of it that we must suppose to be immune to historical variation in order to understand a historical text. Although the postulation of such standards is often so obvious that the fact of our doing so is not noticed at all, we argue that the problems in certain special cases, such as that of subjectivity, force us to pay attention to the methodological questions involved. Taking into account both recent methodological discussion and the problems inherent in two de facto denials of the relevance of subjectivity for historical theories, we argue that there are good grounds for the adoption of subjectivity as a non-textual standard for historical work in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
Some theorists approach the Gordian knot of consciousness by proclaiming its inherent tangle and mystery. Others draw out the sword of reduction and cut the knot to pieces. Philosopher Thomas Metzinger, in his important new book, Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity,1 instead attempts to disentangle the knot one careful strand at a time. The result is an extensive and complex work containing almost 700 pages of philosophical analysis, phenomenological reflection, and scientific data. The text offers a (...) sweeping and comprehensive tour through the entire landscape of consciousness studies, and it lays out Metzinger's rich and stimulating theory of the subjective mind. Metzinger's skilled integration of philosophy and neuroscience provides a valuable framework for interdisciplinary research on consciousness. Metzinger's overall goal in Being No One is to defend a representational theory of subjectivity, one that reduces subjective mental processes to representational mental processes. Subjective experiences take place whe n there is a conscious perspective, an active first-person point of view. It occurs in. (shrink)
Although Wittgenstein is often held co-responsible for the so-called death of man as it was pronounced in the course of the previous century, no detailed description of his alternative to the traditional or Cartesian account of human being has so far been available. By consulting several parts of Wittgenstein's later oeuvre, Subjectivity after Wittgenstein aims to fill this gap. However, it also contributes to the debate about the Cartesian subject and its demise by discussing the criticism that the rethinking (...) of subjectivity received, for it has been argued that the anti-Cartesian turn in continental philosophy has lead to a loss of a centre for both ethics and politics. By further exploring the implications of the Wittgensteinian account of human being, this book makes it clear that a non-Cartesian view on the subject is not necessarily ethically and politically inert. Moreover, it argues that ethical and political arguments should not automatically take precedence in a debate about the nature of man. (shrink)
This is the first book in English to elucidate the central issues in the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), a figure crucial to the movement of philosophy from Kant to German idealism. The book explains Fichte's notion of subjectivity and how his particular view developed out of Kant's accounts of theoretical and practical reason. Fichte argued that the subject has a self-positing structure which distinguishes it from a thing or an object. Thus, the subject must be understood as (...) an activity rather than a thing and is self-constituting in a way that an object is not. In the final chapter, Professor Neuhouser considers how this doctrine of the self-positing subject enables us to understand the possibility of the self's autonomy, or self-determination. (shrink)
Departing from Bourdieu's collective habitus, this essay develops a theory of the subjectivity of habitus, meaning the social-psychological processes comprising the agent and fueling deliberation. By incorporating George Ainslie's theory of the will and deliberation as the intertemporal bargaining of a population of interests, I theorize the “saturated agent” composed of an economy of interests, analogous to Bourdieu's “economy of practices” invested and saturated with cultural capital. Here culturally saturated interests negotiate strategically within the agent, with the ending balance (...) constituting the habitus. Additionally, reflexivity becomes amenable to habitus as “desaturation” or suspending the commitment to a set of culturally saturated interests as a result of a crisis, followed by “resaturation”, the restructuring of the economy of interests. (shrink)
A hypothetical evolutionary scenario is offered meant to account for the emergence of mental selves. According to the scenario, mental selves are constructed to solve a source-attribution problem. They emerge when internally generated mental contents (e.g., thoughts and goals) are treated like messages arising from external personal sources. As a result, mental contents becomes attributed to the self as an internal personal source. According to this view, subjectivity is construed outward-in, that is, one's own mental self is derived from, (...) and is secondary to, the mental selves perceived in others. The social construction of subjectivity and selfhood relies on, and is maintained in, various discourses on subjectivity. (shrink)
The discussion on subjectivity isbased on the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan'sunderstanding of subjectivity as constructed inand through language, and the philosopherCharles Sanders Peirce's general ideas ofsignifying construction as an unlimitedsign-exchanging process â the idea of theunlimited semiosis. The article advocatescombining Lacanian subjectivity and Peirceansemiosis in a model of the formal structure ofthe semiosis of Lacanian subjectivity. In thelight of this model the article claims thatLacanian subjectivity opens to a process ofsubjectivization within the semiosis ofsubjectivity, whereby that (...) which is other ismade our own. Two researchers' differentarguments on subjectivity, both of which referto Lacan's ideas on subjectivity, are used asdiscussion partners in the exploration of thesemiosis of Lacanian subjectivity. While theone researcher claims that subjectivity is anideological construction, the other maintainsthat subjectivity is a free play of signs. Thearticle claims that neither of these tworesearchers considers that there may be aprocess of subjectivization in the semiosis ofsubjectivity. Thus the one researcher can claimthat subjectivity `is constituted outside ofitself', and the other can maintain that `thesubject is doomed to perpetual exile fromitself' in the construction of her or hissubjectivity. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the (...) superiority of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
Subjection and Subjectivity offers an account of moral subjectivity and moral reflection designed to meet the needs of feminism, as well as other emancipatory movements. Diana Tietjens Meyers argues that impartial reason--the appraoch to moral reflection which has dominated 20th century Anglo-American philosophy and judicial reasoning--is inadequate for addressing real world injustices. Dealing with the problems of group-based social exclusion requires empathy with others. But empathy often becomes distorted by prejudicial attitudes which may be publicly condemned but continue (...) to be transmitted through cultural figurations. Meyers uses Julia Kristeva's work on xenophobia and aesthetic practices as a starting point for developing a feminist politics of dissident speech, one that aims to dislodge prejudice. With the goal of offering an empathy-friendly account of moral reflection and judgment, she shows how moral reflection embodies the value of mutual recognition--a value enunciated in the work of Nancy Chodorow and Jessica Benjamin. Meyers argues that it is a mistake to view the moral subject as independent, transparent and rational. Instead, she presents a picture of a heterogeneous and pluralistic subject, one that is defined by ties to other people, liable to misunderstand its own motives and aims, and in need of a repertory of strategies for purposes of moral reflection. (shrink)
After World War II, Japanese intellectuals believed that world history was moving inexorably toward bourgeois democracy and then socialism. But who would be the agents--the active "subjects"--of that revolution in Japan? Intensely debated at the time, this question of active subjectivity influenced popular ideas about nationalism and social change that still affect Japanese political culture today. In a major contribution to modern Japanese intellectual history, J. Victor Koschmann analyzes the debate over subjectivity. He traces the arguments of intellectuals (...) from various disciplines and political viewpoints, and finds that despite their stress on individual autonomy, they all came to define subjectivity in terms of deterministic historical structures, thus ultimately deferring the possibility of radical change in Japan. Establishing a basis for historical dialogue about democratic revolution, this book will interest anyone concerned with issues of nationalism, postcolonialism, and the formation of identities. (shrink)
The subjectivity of the mental consists in the idea that there are features of our mental states that are perspectival in that they are accessible only from the first-person point of view. This is held to be a problem for materialist theories of mind, since such theories contend that there is nothing about the mind that cannot be fully described from a third-person (objective) point of view. Lycan suggests a notion of “phenomenal information” that is held to be perspectival (...) in the relevant sense but also perfectly objective, since it is explicated in terms of the computational roles of higher-order mental representations. I argue that his project fails because phenomenal information is accessible to observers, and hence it fails to be perspectival in the required sense. That sense demands that there be aspects of our conscious experiences that cannot be intersubjectively compared. (shrink)
The Persistence of Subjectivity examines several approaches to, and critiques of, the core notion in the self-understanding and legitimation of the modern, 'bourgeois' form of life: the free, reflective, self-determining subject. Since it is a relatively recent historical development that human beings think of themselves as individual centers of agency, and that one's entitlement to such a self-determining life is absolutely valuable, the issue at stake also involves the question of the historical location of philosophy. What might it mean (...) to take seriously Hegel's claim that philosophical reflection is always reflection on the historical 'actuality' of its own age? Discussing Heidegger, Gadamer, Adorno, Leo Strauss, Manfred Frank, and John McDowell, Robert Pippin attempts to understand how subjectivity arises in contemporary institutional practices such as medicine, as well as in other contexts such as modernism in the visual arts and in the novels of Marcel Proust. (shrink)
In this paper, we model a relational notion of subjectivity by means of two experiments in subjective computing. The goal is to determine to what extent a cognitive and social robot can be regarded to act subjectively. The system was implemented as a reinforcement learning agent with a coaching function. To analyze the robotic agent we used the method of levels of abstraction in order to analyze the agent at four levels of abstraction. At one level the agent is (...) described in mentalistic or subjective language respectively. By mapping this mentalistic to an algorithmic, functional, and relational level, we can show to what extent the agent behaves subjectively as we make use of a relational concept of subjectivity that draws upon the relations that hold between the agent and its environment. According to a relational notion of subjectivity, an agent is supposed to be subjective if it exhibits autonomous relations to itself and others, i.e. the agent is not fully determined by a given input but is able to operate on its input and decide what to do with it. This theoretical notion is confirmed by the technical implementation of self-referentiality and social interaction in that the agent shows improved behavior compared to agents without the ability of subjective computing. On the one hand, a relational concept of subjectivity is confirmed, whereas on the other hand, the technical framework of subjective computing is being theoretically founded. (shrink)
The subjectivity of consciousness is widely regarded as a major stumbling block for materialist theories of mind. In this paper I show how Kripkean arguments against identity theories (Kripke, 1972), and in particular a Kripkean argument against qualia-material property identity developed by Frank Jackson (1980) are a way of highlighting this problem. (And such arguments are not the quasi-historical curiosities they are sometimes pictured as being, because problems confronting functionalism have led to a modest revival of identity theory.) As (...) such, Kripkean arguments are akin to recent discussions of subjectivity by Thomas Nagel (1965, 1974, 1979) and Frank Jackson (1982). I then consider some recent attempts to refute Kripkean arguments or otherwise show that subjectivity is not an insurmountable problem for identity theory. The most promising attempt is one that I myself develop, based on some ideas by Keith Gunderson (1970). But I contend that even it, let alone any of the others, is not without problems. Thus, tentatively, Kripkean arguments against property identity succeed. (shrink)
This paper examines ethics in organizations in relation to the subjectivity of managers. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault we seek to theorize ethics in terms of the meaning of being a manager who is an active ethical subject. Such a manager is so in relation to the organizational structures and norms that govern the conduct of ethics. Our approach locates ethics in the relation between individual morality and organizationally prescribed principles assumed to guide personal action. In this (...) way we see ethics as a practice that is powerfully intertwined in an individual’s freedom to make choices about what to do and who to be, and the organizational context in which those choices are situated, framed and governed. (shrink)
This paper discusses theoretical issues concerning Vygotsky’s work that have remained unaddressed in the dominant interpretations of his work, either in the former Soviet psychology or in the dominant Western interpretations. This paper builds on interpretations of Vygotsky’s concepts oriented by the unity of emotional and cognitive processes and focused on the search for new psychical unities on which to build a systemic representation of the human mind. Because Vygotsky did not provide a definite position on such questions, I have (...) centered on the analysis of the consequences of his legacy for the development of a definition of subjectivity from a cultural-historical standpoint. (shrink)
This paper discusses theoretical issues concerning the topic of subjectivity as it has been recently developed within a cultural – historical framework. This provides a new theoretical and epistemological basis to this issue that does not lead to the misinterpretations of subjectivity found in the modern philosophical approaches to theorizing consciousness. This paper builds on interpretations related to Vygotsky’s theory of consciousness that do not follow the current dominant interpretations in Western Psychology. The analyses take departure in the (...) concept of ‘sense’ introduced by Vygotsky at the end of his work and proceeds to propose the concept of subjective sense as the corner stone for the study of subjectivity. The concept of subjective configuration is discussed and finally, the concept of social subjectivity is introduced understood as those symbolic processes and subjective senses that characterize social scenarios and institutions. (shrink)
Investigating Subjectivity examines the importance of a phenomenological account of the subject for the nature and the status of phenomenology, for different themes from practical philosophy and in relation to issues from the philosophy of ...
Researching two different work settings, police work and hospice care, the authors experienced a strange sense of discomfort in their bodies during their fieldwork when investigating professional training and work situations, especially in encounters with citizens and patients. In some of those situations, the authors withdrew physically or mentally from the situation without wanting to do so, feeling emotionally affected by the uncertainty of the situations, not fully grasping the meaning of what was going on. In a strange way they (...) felt awkwardly detached from their research activities and their bodily involvement in their fieldwork. In this article, the authors seek to explore the meaning of awkwardness embedded in some kinds of ethical dilemma. Through a phenomenological analysis based on the concept of intentionality of the body and a model of inner dilemmas, they reach a renewed understanding on the phenomenon of awkwardness as a natural way for researchers to respond to challenging fieldwork situations. Finally, they propose and unfold mutual interviewing and cooperative analysis as methods of investigating researcher's subjectivity in facing such situations. (shrink)
Why an emergentist account of subjectivity? On the one hand, emergentism provides a new paradigm to rethink subjectivity beyond any dualism. At the same time, the issue of subjectivity puts a strain on emergentism itself, and pushes it beyond its limits. To show it, in the present paper I address a fundamental question: How can we describe subjectivity from an emergentist perspective? To answer, I will tackle Samuel Alexander’s and Alfred North Whitehead’s emergentist accounts of (...) class='Hi'>subjectivity. Alexander locates subjectivity into a consistent emergentist framework, but his model of subjectivity remains grounded in the classical interpretation of subjectivity as mind. Whitehead gives a more innovative model of subjectivity, which implies a radical revision of its temporality and connection to the world, but this leads him beyond emergentism as a whole. (shrink)
Introduction -- Time and matter: temporality, embodied subjectivity and film phenomenology -- Knowing and nothing: Chris Marker, subjective temporalities and vocalic bodies in the future tense -- Agnès Varda's Trinket box: subjective relationality, affect and temporalised space -- Burlesque gestures and bodily attention: phenomenologies of the ephemeral in Chantal Akerman -- Threatened corporealities: thinking with the films of Philippe Grandrieux -- Conclusion: rethinking cinematic subjectivity and beyond.
In this paper, I compare three different views of the relation between subjectivity and modernity: one proposed by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, a second by theorists of institutionalised individualisation, and a third by writers in the Foucaultian tradition of studies of the history of governmentalities. The theorists were chosen because they represent very different understandings of the relation between contemporary history and subjectivity. My purpose is to ground psychoanalytic theory about what humans need in history and so to question what (...) it means to talk ahistorically about what humans need in order to thrive psychologically. Only in so doing can one assess the relation between psychoanalysis and progressive politics. I conclude that while psychoanalysis is a discourse of its time, it can also function as a counter-discourse and can help us understand the effects on subjectivity of a more than thirty year history in the West of repudiating dependency needs and denying interdependence. (shrink)
Introduction: contemporary conditions and diagrammatic trajectory -- From joy to the gap: the accessing of the infinite by the finite (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson) -- The care of the self versus the ethics of desire: two diagrams of the production of subjectivity (and of the subject's relation to truth) (Foucault versus Lacan) -- The aesthetic paradigm: from the folding of the finite-infinite relation to schizoanalytic metamodelisation (to biopolitics) (Guattari) -- The strange temporality of the subject: life in-between the infinite and (...) the finite (Deleuze contra Badiou) -- Desiring-machines, chaoids, probeheads: towards a speculative production of subjectivity (Deleuze and Guattari) -- Conclusion: composite diagram and relations of adjacency. (shrink)
The Passive Eye is a revolutionary and historically rich account of Berkeley’s theory of vision. In this formidable work, the author considers the theory of the embodied subject and its passions in light of a highly dynamic conception of infinity. Arsic shows the profound affinities between Berkeley and Spinoza, and offers a highly textual reading of Berkeley on the concept of an “exhausted subjectivity.” The author begins by following the Renaissance universe of vision, particularly the paradoxical elusive nature of (...) mirrors, then shows how this conception of vision was translated into the optical devices and in what way the various ways of deception could be conceived. Reading Berkeley against the backdrop of competing theories, in relation to Leibniz, Spinoza, Newton, Malebranche, Hume, Locke, Molyneux and others, this book gives a meticulous historic reconstruction of Berkeley’s theory. This excellent scholarly work presents Berkeley’s theory in a new and radical light. The book, presented in three parts, begins by presenting the conceptions of vision prior to Berkeley’s intervention. In the second part, the author moves through a careful study of Descartes’ theory of vision to arrive at Berkeley. The third part addresses the author’s version of Berkeley in which the eye and the image become inseparable due to the collapse of the universe of representation. The problem of vision becomes not that of representation, but of presentation. Through an erudite historic reading of Berkeley’s theory and astute comparative assessments, the author uncovers Berkeley’s place as a contemporary theoretician, corresponding with such thinkers as Deleuze, Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida. (shrink)
If the tragic interpretation of experience is still so current, despite its disastrous ethical consequences, it is because it shapes our subjectivity. Instead of contradicting the ideals of autonomy and freedom, a modern subjectivity based on self-victimization in effect enables them. By embracing subjection to an alienating other (the Law, Power) the autonomous subject protects its sameness from the disruption of real people. Seductions of Fate stages a dialogue between this tragic agent of political emancipation and the unconditional (...) ethical demands it seeks to evade. (shrink)
Being a subject and being conscious of being one are different realities. According to Hegel, the difference is not only conceptual, but also influences people's experience of the world and of one another. This book aims to explain some basic aspects of Hegel's conception of subjectivity with particular regard to the difference he saw in ancient and modern ways of thinking about and acting as individuals, persons and moral subjects.
The object of this essay is to explore the central role played by the ‘ethic of care’ in debates within and beyond feminist legal theory. The author claims that the ethic of care has attracted feminist legal scholars in particular, as a means of resolving the theoretical, political and strategic difficulties to which the perceived ‘crisis of subjectivity’ in feminist theory has given rise. She argues that feminist legal scholars are peculiarly placed in relation to this crisis because of (...) their reliance on the social ‘woman’ whose interests are the predominant concern of feminist legal engagement. With the problematisation of subjectivity, the object of feminist legal attention disappears and it is in attempts to deflect the negative political consequences of this that the ethic of care has been invoked, the author argues, unsuccessfully. The essay concludes with suggestions as to how the feminist project in law might proceed in the wake of the crisis of subjectivity and the failure of the ethic of care to resolve it. (shrink)
This unusually accessible account of recent Anglo-American philosophy focuses on how that philosophy has challenged deeply held notions of subjectivity, mind, and language. The book is designed on a broad canvas in which recent arguments are placed in a historical context (in particular they are related to medieval philosophy and German idealism). The author then explores such topics as mental content, moral realism, realism and antirealism, and the character of subjectivity. Much of the book is devoted to an (...) investigation of Donald Davidson's philosophy, and there is also a sustained critique of the position of Richard Rorty. A final chapter defends the realist position against objections from postmodern thought. As a rigorous and historically sensitive account of recent philosophy, this book should enjoy a wide readership among philosophers of many different persuasions, literary theorists, and social scientists who have been influenced by postmodern thought. (shrink)
A biosemiotic view of living things is presented that supersedes the mechanistic view of life prevalent in biology today. Living things are active agents with autonomous subjectivity, whose structure is triadic, consisting of the individual organism, its Umwelt and the society. Sociality inheres in every living thing since the very origin of life on the earth. The temporality of living things is guided by the purpose to live, which works as the semantic boundary condition for the processes of embodiment (...) of the subjectivity. Freedom at the molecular and cellular levels allows autonomy and spontaneity to emerge even in single cell organisms, and the presence of the dimension of mind in every living thing is deduced. Living things transcend their individualness, as they live in historically formed higher order structure consisting of the lineage-species and the society. They also transcend materiality, having the dimension of mind. (shrink)
Ethics deals with how we make decisions and the actions we perform. In decision-making, one weighs the pros and the cons of any course of action. Besides the realm of the private, there are ethical issues regularly dealt with in public discourses. Human identity in most instances is a cultural and religious construct. Our socio-historical background as human beings is constitutive of our identity and also informs our ethical decision making. In this essay, I argue for a possibility of positively (...) incorporating ideas from world religions and diverse cultures into public ethical discourses. Since world religions are about people, it is possible to appropriate humanity as understood in religions in the development of ethics. Hence, I present religions as practically relevant in the analysis of public ethical issues. Public ethical discourses are viewed as inclusive of history, religion, and culture. Further, the work of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur is presented as a way of reconciling subjectivity and objectivity in history and ethics. This essay is an analysis on ways in which the debate on ethical issues can incorporate all the voices in a society without excluding anyone while avoiding ideological extremism.  . (shrink)
In this dissertation, I develop a post-reflexive philosophical account of self-knowing subjectivity. I argue that ambiguity, not clarity, is the hallmark of intersubjective being and knowing, and that ambiguous being is particularly evident precisely where subjectivity occupies a central place: in theory. To illustrate this claim, I turn to the ubiquitous and indispensable technology of the glassy mirror, a material object and discursive trope which I use to enliven the Beauvoirean concept of situation: a lived ambiguity of being (...) both subject and object, both universal and particular, both for-self and for-others. Far from eschewing the historical importance of precision and determinacy in Western views of knowing well, my appeal to mirrors in this project allows me to read such values as sedimented in knowers’ ways of making sense of the world – of themselves and their objects of knowledge, as these are expressed through theoretical engagements. (shrink)
The claim of this paper is that the poetic word enables a creative and insightful perspective on philosophical issues through a mode of expression which is less curtailed by the academic and traditional conventions more commonly assumed in philosophical works. The poetic perspective is potentially more daring, more courageous, more challenging and ultimately more honest than that afforded by ‘pure’ philosophy. This paper, through an examination of Eliot’s poetry, asserts this claim, with particular reference to an understanding of human (...) class='Hi'>subjectivity. Eliot’s portrayal of the modern subject as essentially fragmented, and often split between private and public realities, provides an exploration of the complex issue of subjectivity, as concepts such as identity and recognition, time and memory, loss and change, vulnerability and fragmentation are creatively explored in poetic form. (shrink)
Part I: Consciousness and the metaphysics of experience. Orientations. What I believe. The privacy of experience. Final causes. The importance of subjectivity : an inaugural lecture. Is consciousness mysterious? Consciousness. The distinctiveness of American philosophy. The world of description and the world of acquaintance -- Part II: The metaphysics of time and the absolute. The unreality of time. Ideal immortality. Russell and Bradley on relations. The self and its world in Bradley and Husserl. Absolute idealism. Pantheism -- Part III: (...) Ethics, animal rights, and the environment. The greatest happiness principle. Is the esse of intrinsic value percipi? Pleasure, pain and value. Metaphysics, physicalism, and animal rights. Vivisection, morals, medicine : commentary from an antivivisectionist philosopher. Non-human rights : an idealist perspective. Are there intrinsic values in nature? An idealist's prayer for the world. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel argues that the subjective character of mind inevitably eludes philosophical efforts to incorporate the mental into a single, complete, physically objective view of the world. Nagel sees contemporary philosophy as caught on the horns of a dilemma.
The enactive approach offers a distinctive view of how mental life relates to bodily activity at three levels: bodily self-regulation, sensorimotor coupling, and intersubjective in- teraction. This paper concentrates on the second level of sensorimotor coupling. An account is given of how the subjectively lived body and the living body of the organism are related (the body-body problem) via dynamic sensorimotor activity, and it is shown how this account helps to bridge the explanatory gap between consciousness and the brain. Arguments (...) by O'Regan, No¨e, and Myin that seek to account for the phenomenal character of perceptual consciousness in terms of 'bodiliness' and 'grabbiness' are considered. It is suggested that their account does not pay sufﬁcient attention to two other key aspects of perceptual phenomenality: the autonomous nature of the experiencing self or agent, and the pre-reﬂective nature of bodily self-consciousness. (shrink)