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Subjectivity, Objectivity and Nagel on Consciousness

  • Jeffrey Foss (a1)

The strong intuition that the facts concerning the subjectivity of consciousness are simply beyond the grasp of objective science is the highest barrier to an intuitively convincing materialism in the philosophy of mind. We are steeped in a tradition which has it that there is, to state it from the first-person point of view, an epistemic difference in principle between my introspectible experience, which only I can apprehend and know, and the things which everyone can apprehend and which form the domain of the natural sciences. This contrast is sometimes cast as that between the subjective stuff of first-person introspectible consciousness and the objective stuff of the natural sciences. In this essay, I will try to budge the view of the subjective-objective distinction which underlies this tradition from its position as tacit dogma.

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Foss Jeff 1989On the Logic of What It Is Like to Be a Conscious Subject.Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 67, 2 (June): 205–20.
Jackson Frank 1982Epiphenomenal Qualia.Philosophical Quarterly, 32, 127 (April): 127–36.
Margolis Joseph 1984 Culture and Cultural Entities: Toward a New Unity of Science. Boston: D. Reidel.
Maxwell Nicholas 1985 From Knowledge to Wisdom. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
McGinn Colin 1989Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?Mind, 98, 391 (July): 349–66.
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McGinn Colin 1991 “Consciousness and Content.” In Bogdan Radu J., ed., Mind and Common Sense, pp. 7193. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nagel Thomas 1974What Is It Like to Be A Bat?Philosophical Review, 83, 4 (October): 435–50. Reprinted in Nagel (1979).
Nagel Thomas 1979 Mortal Questions. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nagel Thomas 1986 The View from Nowhere. New York: Oxford University Press.
Robinson Howard 1982 Matter and Sense. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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