Although ambivalence in a strict sense, according to which a person holds opposed attitudes, and holds them as opposed, is an ordinary and widespread phenomenon, it appears impossible on the common presupposition that persons are either unitary or plural. These two conceptions of personhood call for dispensing with ambivalence by employing tactics of harmonizing, splitting, or annulling the unitary subject. However, such tactics are useless if ambivalence is sometimes strictly conscious. This paper sharpens the notion of conscious ambivalence, such that the above tactics cannot be applied to ordinary moments of explicit and clear ambivalent consciousness. It is shown that such moments reveal ambivalence as an attitude that is part of human life. The argument employs three features of consciousness that together capture its outgoing character. In the last section some of the implications of conscious ambivalence for consciousness and the mind are clarified as the analysis of conscious ambivalence in this paper is compared with Hume’s and John Barth’s phenomenalist conceptions.
An additional note: See Razinsky, Ambivalence: A Philosohical Exploration (Rowman & Littlefield Int., 2016), Ch. 5 for a version of this paper that also includes a long section on the unity of consciousness (but does not include the section named 'Phenomenalist Ambivalence?').