ProtoSociology 36:264-296 (2019)

Matthew Eshleman
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
This programmatic essay sketches a few reasons for the elusive nature of conscious experience. It proposes that while neither introspection nor phenomenologically refined reflection delivers direct ‘observational’ access to intrinsic features of conscious experience, intrinsic features of consciousness, nonetheless, manifest themselves in our experience in a liminal way. Overall it proceeds in two movements. Negatively, it argues that implicit self-awareness renders any notion of reflective access methodologically superfluous but existentially irresistible. Positively, it argues that ‘reflective’ access to the liminal dimensions of conscious experience should be construed in purely semantic terms, tied to indirect experiential acquaintance. It concludes by suggesting that what goes by the name mental transparency, even its strong versions, does not rule out liminal manifestation: mental transparency is not mental invisibility.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Social Science
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DOI 10.5840/protosociology20193610
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