Explaining consciousness and the duality of method

Abstract

In consciousness studies, the first-person perspective, seen as a way to approach consciousness, is often seen as nothing but a variant of the third-person perspective. One of the most important advocates of this view is Dennett. However, as I show in critical interaction with Dennett’s view, the first-person perspective and the third-person perspective are different ways of asking questions about themes. What these questions are is determined by the purposes that we have when we ask them. Since our purposes are different according to the perspective we take, each perspective has a set of leading questions of its own. This makes that the first-person perspective is an approach of consciousness that is substantially different from the third-person perspective, and that one cannot be reduced to the other. These perspectives are independent, although complementary approaches of the mind.

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