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)
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)
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)
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)
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 article discusses an interpretation of Kant's conception of transcendental subjectivity, which manages to avoid many of the concerns that have been raised by analytic interpreters over this doctrine. It is an interpretation put forward by selected C19 and early C20 neo-Kantian writers. The article starts out by offering a neo-Kantian interpretation of the object as something that is constituted by the categories and that serves as a standard of truth within a theory of judgment. The second part explicates (...) transcendental subjectivity as the system of categories, which is self-referential and constitutes objects, in order to then evaluate this conception by means of a comparison with Hegel's absolute subject. Rather than delineating the differences between neo-Kantian writers, the article systematically expounds a shared project, which consists in providing the ultimate foundation for judgments by means of an anti-psychologist and non-metaphysical interpretation of transcendental subjectivity. (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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
An influential thesis in contemporary philosophy of mind is that subjectivity is best conceived as inner awareness of qualia. (Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness. Oxford University Press, London, 2001) 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)
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)
¿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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Four research strategies currently employed by mainstream psychologists in researching the experiences and behaviors of human subjects are criticized for diminishing the presence of subjectivity. Two perspectives that tend to exaggerate subjectivity are also criticized. A balanced approach to subjectivity is offered that: acknowledges a theoretical perspective that recognizes that there are invisible or nonsensorial characteristics of subjectivity that have to be theoretically appropriated, and that emphasizes the intersubjective dimension as being critical for properly assessing a (...) balanced approach to human subjectivity. A subject-dependent perspective that can efface its own interests is the attitude that is required for the achievement of objectivity. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)