Following the philosophy of embodiment of Merleau-Ponty, Jonas and others, enactivism is a pivot point from which various areas of science can be brought into a fruitful dialogue about the nature of subjectivity. In this chapter we present the enactive conception of agency, which, in contrast to current mainstream theories of agency, is deeply and strongly embodied. In line with this thinking we argue that anything that ought to be considered a genuine agent is a biologically embodied (even if (...) distributed) agent, and that this embodiment must be affectively lived. However, we also consider that such an affective agent is not necessarily also an agent imbued with an explicit sense of subjectivity. To support this contention we outline the interoceptive foundation of basic agency and argue that there is a qualitative difference in the phenomenology of agency when it is instantiated in organisms which, due to their complexity and size, require a nervous system to underpin their physiological and sensorimotor processes. We argue that this interoceptively grounded agency not only entails affectivity but also forms the necessary basis for subjectivity. (shrink)
According to what we will call subjectivity theories of consciousness, there is a constitutive connection between phenomenal consciousness and subjectivity: there is something it is like for a subject to have mental state M only if M is characterized by a certain mine-ness or for-me-ness. Such theories appear to face certain psychopathological counterexamples: patients appear to report conscious experiences that lack this subjective element. A subsidiary goal of this chapter is to articulate with greater precision both subjectivity (...) theories and the psychopathological challenge they face. The chapter’s central goal is to present two new approaches to defending subjectivity theories in the face of this challenge. What distinguishes these two approaches is that they go to great lengths to interpret patients’ reports at face value – greater length, at any rate, than more widespread approaches in the extant literature. (shrink)
Subjectivity theories of consciousness take self-reference, somehow construed, as essential to having conscious experience. These theories differ with respect to how many levels they posit and to whether self-reference is conscious or not. But all treat self-referencing as a process that transpires at the personal level, rather than at the subpersonal level, the level of mechanism. -/- Working with conceptual resources afforded by pre-existing theories of consciousness that take self-reference to be essential, several attempts have been made to explain (...) seemingly anomalous cases, especially instances of alien experience. These experiences are distinctive precisely because self-referencing is explicitly denied by the only person able to report them: those who experience them deny that certain actions, mental states, or body parts belong to self. The relevant actions, mental states, or body parts are sometimes attributed to someone or something other than self, and sometimes they are just described as not belonging to self. But all are referred away from self. -/- The cases under discussion here include somatoparaphrenia, schizophrenia, depersonalization, anarchic hand syndrome, and utilization behavior; the theories employed, Higher-Order Thought, Wide Intrinsicality, and Self-Representational. Below I argue that each of these attempts at explaining or explaining away the anomalies fails. Along the way, since each of these theories seeks at least compatibility with science, I sketch experimental approaches that could be used to adduce support for my position, or indeed for the positions of theorists with whom I disagree. -/- In a concluding section I first identify two presuppositions shared by all of the theorists considered here, and argue that both are either erroneous or misleading. Second, I call attention to divergent paths adopted when attempting to explain alienation experiences: some theorists choose to add a mental ingredient, while others prefer to subtract one. I argue that alienation from experience, action, or body parts could result from either addition or subtraction, and that the two can be incorporated within a comprehensive explanatory framework. Finally, I suggest that this comprehensive framework would require self-referencing of a sort, but self-referencing that occurs solely on the level of mechanism, or the subpersonal level. In adumbrating some features of this “subpersonal self,” I suggest that there might be one respect in which it is prior to conscious experience. (shrink)
My concern in this paper is the role of subjectivity in the pursuit of the good. I propose that subjective thought as well as a subjective mental process underappreciated in philosophical psychology – contemplation – are instrumental for discovering and apprehending a whole range of value. In fact, I will argue that our primary contact with these values is through experience and that they could not be properly understood in any other way. This means that subjectivity is central (...) to our evaluative lives. -/- . (shrink)
_Levinas, Subjectivity, Education_ explores how the philosophical writings of Emmanuel Levinas lead us to reassess education and reveals the possibilities of a radical new understanding of ethical and political responsibility. Presents an original theoretical interpretation of Emmanuel Levinas that outlines the political significance of his work for contemporary debates on education Offers a clear analysis of Levinas’s central philosophical concepts, including the place of religion in his work, demonstrating their relevance for educational theorists Examines Alain Badiou’s critique of Levinas’s (...) work Considers the practical implications of Levinas’ theories for concrete educational practices and frameworks. (shrink)
‘‘Quid est ergo tempus? si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio’’. Augustine’s statement made 1,600 years ago still rings true. Paul Ricoeur goes so far as to assert that it is impossible to grasp time conceptually (Ricoeur 1984: 11 ff.). Nevertheless, or perhaps due to these aporias, time remains one of the most signiﬁcant and intriguing themes for human imagination and philosophy. Nearly a century ago Edmund Husserl raised the hopes for a comprehensive philosophy of time (...) with his Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time, published much later in 1928 by Martin Heidegger (but put together in most part by Edith Stein). Husserl’s subsequent steps on the stairway to a philosophy of time remained unpublished until the recent volumes Husserl (2001, 2006). These publications have awakened new interest in Husserl’s philosophy of time, and two recent monographs reconstruct and interpret it with a focus on subjectivity. (shrink)
There has been a persistent misunderstanding of the nature of cosmopolitanism in Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay “Perpetual Peace,” viewing it as a qualitative break from the bellicose natural law tradition preceding it. This misunderstanding is in part due to Kant’s explicitly critical comments about colonialism as well as his attempt to rhetorically distance his cosmopolitanism from traditional natural law theory. In this paper, I argue that the necessary foundation for Kant’s cosmopolitan subjectivity and right was forged in the experience (...) of European colonialism and the (pre-Kantian) theory it engendered. It is in this context that we witness the universalization of subjectivity and the subjectivization of right, emerging from the justificatory needs of extra-national jurisdiction and resource appropriation. This form of cosmopolitanism, whose emergence necessarily tracks the rise of global capitalism, continues to exert great and often uncritical influence on theories and practices of peace today. (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 article reflects upon the implications for sociology of the steady accumulation of evidence in the sciences of animal behavior pointing to the existence of culture among nonhuman animals. With a particular focus on primatology, it explores how these developments challenge the notions of “culture” that continue to inform the study of human social life. The article argues that this growing challenge to the assumption of human uniqueness that has historically provided the core rationale for sociology cannot be ignored. The (...) paper thus contributes to the overdue work of articulating a constructive response by tracing the issues involved in the encounter between these knowledges. Theoretical currents from science studies and actor-network theory are drawn upon in order to propose a reflexive and symmetrical realignment of this encounter, with significant implications for our understandings of human and animal being and subjectivity. (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 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)
This paper analyzes the entanglement of the modern concepts of freedom, autonomy, and the modern notion of the subject and how a passion for and insistence on freedom has undermined the reconstruction of human subjectivity in Heidegger and Foucault, and how such passion has also limited the educational effort at addressing the problems brought to education by the modern notion of the subject. Drawing on Levinas, it suggests that a new understanding of freedom as heteronomy will allow us to (...) envision an open subjectivity that is essential for education. Particularly, it looks at Gert Biesta’s recent campaigns for “subjectification” and “the gift of teaching” to analyze the underlying contradictions caused by the entanglement of freedom and subjectivity. (shrink)
This is the first book in English to elucidate the central issues in the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, 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)
I investigate the status of subjectivity in Integrated Information Theory. This leads me to examine if Integrated Information Theory can answer the hard problem of consciousness. On itself, Integrated Information Theory does not seem to constitute an answer to the hard problem, but could be combined with panpsychism to yield a more satisfying theory of consciousness. I will show, that even if Integrated Information Theory employs the metaphysical machinery of panpsychism, Integrated Information would still suffer from a different problem, (...) not being able to account for the subjective character of consciousness. (shrink)
This new, completely revised and re-written edition of Aesthetics and subjectivity brings up to date the original book's account of the path of German philosophy from Kant, via Fichte and Holderlin, the early Romantis, Schelling, Hegel, Schleimacher, to Nietzsche, in view of recent historical research and contemporary arguments in philosophy and theory in the humanities.
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)
Background: how mind functions is subject to continuing scientific discussion. A simplistic approach says that, since no convincing way has been found to model subjective experience, mind cannot exist. A second holds that, since mind cannot be described by classical physics, it must be described by quantum physics. Another perspective concerns mind's hypothesized ability to interact with the world of quanta: it should be responsible for reduction of quantum wave packets; physics producing 'Objective Reduction' is postulated to form the basis (...) for mind-matter interactions. This presentation describes results derived from a new approach to these problems. It is based on well-established biology involving physics not previously applied to the fields of mind, or consciousness studies, that of critical feedback instability. -/- Methods: 'self-organized criticality' in complexity biology places system loci of control at critical instabilities, physical properties of which, including information properties, are presented. Their elucidation shows that they can model hitherto unexplained properties of experience. -/- Results: All results depend on physical properties of critical instabilities. First, at least one feed-back or feed-forward loop must have feedback gain, g = 1: information flows round the loop impress perfect images of system states back on themselves: they represent processes of perfect self-observation. This annihilates system quanta: system excitations are instability fluctuations, which cannot be quantized. Major results follow: -/- 1. Information vectors representing criticality states must include at least one attached information loop denoting self-observation. -/- 2. Such loop structures are attributed a function, 'registering the state's own existence', explaining -/- a. Subjective 'awareness of one's own presence' -/- b. How content-free states of awareness can be remembered (Jon Shear) -/- c. Subjective experience of time duration (Immanuel Kant) -/- d. The 'witness' property of experience – often mentioned by athletes 'in the zone' -/- e. The natural association between consciousness and intelligence -/- This novel, physically and biologically sound approach seems to satisfactorily model subjectivity. -/- Further significant results follow: -/- 1. Registration of external information in excited states of systems at criticality reduces external wave-packets: the new model exhibits 'Objective Reduction' of wave packets. -/- 2. High internal coherence (postulated by Domash & Penrose) leading to a. Non-separable information vector bundles. b. Non-reductive states (Chalmers's criterion for experience). -/- 3. Information that is: a. encoded in coherence negentropy; b. non-digitizable, and therefore c. computationally without digital equivalent (posited by Penrose). -/- Discussion and Conclusions: instability physics implies anharmonic motion, preventing excitation quantization, and totally different from the quantum physics of simple harmonic motion at stability. Instability excitations are different from anything hitherto conceived in information science. They can model aspects of mind never previously treated, including genuine subjectivity, objective reduction of wave-packets, and inter alia all properties given above. (shrink)
¿Cómo objetivar la subjetividad sin caer en subjetivismos inmanentistas ni en objetivismos ajenos a la existencia personal? Desde el realismo filosófico la clave parece encontrarse en la adecuada articulación entre conciencia y subjetividad. Estudiaremos las teorías de la conciencia de Antonio Millán-Puelles y Karol Wojtyła desde la onto-fenomenología para hallar el modo de superar esta aporía. -/- How to objectify subjectivity without falling into either immanent subjectivisms or objectivisms foreign to personal existence? From the perspective of realist philosophy the (...) key seems to be found in an appropriate articulation between consciousness and subjectivity. We are going to study the theories of consciousness in Antonio Millán-Puelles and Karol Wojtyła from onto-phenomenology in order to find the way to overcome this aporia. (shrink)
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)
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)
Diana Tietjens Meyers examines the political underpinnings of psychoanalytic feminism, analyzing the relation between the nature of the self and the structure of good societies. She argues that impartial reason--the approach to moral reflection which has dominated 20th-century Anglo-American philosophy--is inadequate for addressing real world injustices. ____Subjection and Subjectivity__ is central to feminist thought across a wide range of disciplines.
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 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 article presents a perspective on the scientific explanation of the subjectivity of conscious experience. It proposes plausible answers for two empirically valid questions: the ‘how’ question concerning the developmental mechanisms of subjectivity, and the ‘why’ question concerning its function. Biological individuation, which is acquired in several different stages, serves as a provisional description of how subjective perspectives may have evolved. To the extent that an individuated informational space seems the most efficient way for a given organism to (...) select biologically valuable information, subjectivity is deemed to constitute an adaptive response to informational overflow. One of the possible consequences of this view is that subjectivity might be (at least functionally) dissociated from consciousness, insofar as the former primarily facilitates selection, the latter action. (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)
Based on a careful study of his unpublished manuscripts as well as his published work, this book explores Peirce's general theory of signs and the way in which Peirce himself used this theory to understand subjectivity.
Abstract The subjectivity of conscious experience is a central feature of our mental life that puzzles philosophers of mind. Conscious mental representations are presented to me as mine, others remain unconscious. How can we make sense of the difference between them? Some representationalists (e.g. Tye) attempt to explain it in terms of non-conceptual intentional content, i.e. content for which one need not possess the relevant concept required in order to describe it. Hanna claims that Kant purports to explain the (...)subjectivity of conscious experience in this way. This paper examines this claim in some detail in the context of a more general criticism of this kind of attempt to explain subjectivity and proposes a different reading of Kant that also leads to an alternative account of subjectivity independent from content. (shrink)
Nietzsche’s timeliness is patent in the renewed enthusiasm with which scholars in both the continental and analytic traditions have approached his works in recent years. Along with other topics, attention has been particularly directed towards two important issues: Nietzsche’s analysis, critique, and genealogy of culture, and his stance on subjectivity. In this introductory study we shall provide a brief outline of both these topics. As will be shown, they play a pivotal role in Nietzsche’s thought, and the link that (...) connects them is stronger than one would imagine. (shrink)
This paper draws a picture of how topics related to subjectivity have appeared in different psychological theories, such as psychoanalysis, Gestalt and post-structuralist approaches, discussing in depth a specific proposition from a cultural-historical standpoint. I argue that, in most of these theories, subjectivity has been used to refer to specific processes and phenomena without advancing a more general theory about it. The way in which subjectivity was treated within the Cartesian/Enlightenment tradition, taken together with the individualistic tradition (...) of psychology, led critical psychological theories to reject the concept. In this way, such critical theories have omitted the heuristic value of subjectivity to study processes that can neither be exhausted by language, nor by discourse. A new proposal of subjectivity is highlighted, based on the cultural-historical tradition in psychology. From this perspective, subjectivity is defined by units of emotions and symbolical processes generated throughout human experience. On the basis of such definition, I discuss how institutionalized orders can be subverted by subjective productions that represent new social pathways. Far from being a remnant of Modernity, in this way subjectivity is defined as a human production, capable of transcending the apparent objective limits of human existence. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the notion of color as a property of the surfaces of objects. It considers three positions on what colors are: objectivist, subjectivist, and relationalist. Examination of the arguments of the objectivists will help us understand how they seek to reduce color to a physical property of object surfaces. Subjectivists, by contrast, seek to argue that no such reduction is possible, and hence that color must be wholly subjective. This chapter argues that when functional considerations are taken (...) into account, a relationalist position best accommodates the primary data concerning color perception, and permits a better understanding of the ways in which color is both objective and subjective. The chapter ends with a reconsideration of the notions of objectivity and subjectivity themselves, and a consideration of how modern technology can foster misleading expectations about the specificity of color properties. (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)
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.
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)
This paper proposes a new reading of the interaction between subjectivity, reflection and freedom within Foucault’s later work. I begin by introducing three approaches to subjectivity, locating these in relation both to Foucault’s texts and to the recent literature. I suggest that Foucault himself operates within what I call the ‘entanglement approach’, and, as such, he faces a potentially serious challenge, a challenge forcefully articulated by Han. Using Kant’s treatment of reflection as a point of comparison, I argue (...) that Foucault possesses the resources to meet this challenge. The key, I contend, is to distinguish two related theses about reflection and freedom: Foucault’s position is distinctive precisely because he accepts one of these theses whilst rejecting the other. I conclude by indicating how this reading might connect to the longstanding question of Foucault’s own right to appeal to normative standards. (shrink)
An influential thesis in contemporary philosophy of mind is that subjectivity is best conceived as inner awareness of qualia. has argued that this unique subjective awareness generates a paradox which resists empirical explanation. On account of this “paradox of subjective duality,” Levine concludes that the hardest part of the hard problem of consciousness is to explain how anything like a subjective point of view could arise in the world. Against this, I argue that the nature of subjective thought is (...) not correctly characterized as inner awareness, that a non-paradoxical approach to the first-person perspective is available, and that the problem about subjectivity should be distinguished from the perennial problem of qualia or phenomenal properties. (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)
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)
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)
In his book The View from Nowhere , Thomas Nagel says that ‘the subjectivity of consciousness is an irreducible feature of reality’ . He speaks of ‘the essential subjectivity of the mental’ , and of ‘the mind's irreducibly subjective character’ . ‘Mental concepts’, he says, refer to ‘subjective points of view and their modifications’ : The subjective features of conscious mental processes—as opposed to their physical causes and effects—cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for (...) dealing with the physical world that underlines the appearances. Not only raw feels but also intentional mental states—however objective their content—must be capable of manifesting themselves in subjective form to be in the mind at all. (shrink)
Memory is a privileged context for inquiry into subjective life; no wonder that the way philosophers theorize memory is indicative of their conception of subjectivity as a whole. In this essay, I turn to Sartre and Husserl with the aim of unveiling how their accounts of recollection resolve the question of identity and difference within the temporality of one's life. Tracing Sartre's arguments against Husserl's, as well as Husserl's and Sartre's own presentations of recollection, I inquire into the reasons (...) that incited them to bring either the aspect of sameness or otherness at the heart of subjective life into view. (shrink)
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)
According to the standard view, Montaigne’s Pyrrhonian doubts would be in the origin of Descartes’ radical Sceptical challenges and his cogito argument. Although this paper does not deny this influence, its aim is to reconsider it from a different perspective, by acknowledging that it was not Montaigne’s Scepticism, but his Stoicism, which played the decisive role in the birth of the modern internalist conception of subjectivity. Cartesian need for certitude is to be better understood as an effect of the (...) Stoic model of wisdom, which urges the sage to build an inner space for self-sufficiency and absolute freedom. (shrink)
Mou Zongsan 牟宗三 contends that Confucianism is an ethics of autonomy. It is maintained that Mou’s version of ethics of autonomy differs from Kant’s in that Mou comprehends subjectivity differently than Kant in such a way that he, unlike Kant, locates the ethical a priori in moral feelings instead of reason. This paper will explore Mou’s metaphysical grounding of morality to show that Kant’s notions of autonomy and subjectivity undergo more radical modifications in Mou’s contention.
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.