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Consciousness and Subjectivity (2008-2011)

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  • Thematic Line


    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group


    Mind, Language & Action

Principal Investigators: Gerhard Preyer (Professor, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany) and Sofia Miguens (Associate Professor, University of Porto, Portugal)

This project started with a common concern about the generalization of a naturalized epistemology stance in current philosophical discussions in analytic philosophy, especially in the philosophy of mind and language. Third person approaches are dominant in the field and the proximity of much philosophical work on mind and language with cognitive science reinforces such orientation. One consequence of such a situation is a blind spot about consciousness and subjectivity. Issues concerning subjectivity are taken to be exhausted when problems regarding the place of consciousness in nature, on the one hand and language and fist-person authority on the other are addressed. That reflects on the conceptions of naturalism and realism/anti-realism developed. This Project aims at editing a book on consciousness and subjectivity which takes on the concerns above. The intention of the book is to bring together analytic, or analytically inspired, philosophers working on the continent with English-speaking philosophers to address these issues.

Topics of interest are:

  • Internalism/externalism debates and problems of self-knowledge
  • First-person authority and interpretation
  • Mediated/unmediated knowledge of self
  • Role of self in foundations of knowledge
  • Nature and perspective (nature of experience)
  • Realism/anti-realism
  • Framework for cognitive science

Porto-Frankfurt Collaboration Project (2008-2011) (internal to the Institute of Philosophy)

Final publication (Frankfurt, Ontos):

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Are There Blindspots in Thinking about Consciousness and Subjectivity?

 

Part I Consciousness and Experience

 

Hilary Putnam

Sensation and Apperception

 

Elijah Chudnoff

Presentational Phenomenology

 

Michelle Montague

The Content, Intentionality and Phenomenology of Perceptual Experience

 

Donovan Wishon

Perceptual Acquaintance and Informational Content

 

Uriah Kriegel

Personal-Level Representation

 

Charles Travis

While under the Influence

 

Part II Subjectivity and First Person

 

Manfred Frank

Varieties of Subjectivity

 

Gerhard Preyer

The Problem of Subjectivity Dieter Henrich’s Turn

 

Neil Feit

Self-Ascription and Self-Awareness

 

Jocelyn Benoist

First Person is not just a Perspective: Thought, Reality and the Limits of Interpretation

 

Shaun Gallagher

First-Person Perspective and Immunity to Error through Misidentification

 

Thor Grünbaum

First-Person Thinking and minimal Self-Consciousness

 

Joel Krueger and Søren Overgaard

Seeing Subjectivity: defending a Perceptual Account of Other Minds

 

David Rudrauf, Kenneth Williford, Gregory Landini

The Paradoxes of Subjectivity and the Projective Structure of Consciousness

 

 

Introduction Are There Blindspots in Thinking About Consciousness and Subjectivity?

 

 

Sofia Miguens

Gerhard Preyer

 

I

Blindspots

The project of this book started with a common concern about the generalization of a ‘naturalized epistemology stance’ in current philosophical discussions in analytic philosophy, especially in the philosophy of mind and language. Third-person approaches are dominant, or at least pervasive – in fact, the proximity of much philosophical work on mind and language with cognitive science reinforces such orientation. We believe that one consequence of such a situation within philosophy itself are blindspots in thinking about consciousness and subjectivity: issues regarding consciousness and subjectivity may simply be taken to be exhausted by addressing problems such as the place of consciousness in nature within a physicalist metaphysics, whose nature is decided and debated elsewhere, or the status of first-person authority in linguistic creatures. But is it the case that problems such as the place of consciousness in nature or the status of first-person authority exhaust the issues at stake? This may be taken to be the case in some quarters of analytic philosophy - yet issues of subjectivity and consciousness are dealt with in very different ways not only in the idealistic–phenomenological tradition central to continental philosophy but also in the analytic tradition itself. So when we first conceived of this project, we thought that a practical strategy to bring out the differences and the advantages of approaches in each tradition would be to bring together analytic, or analytically inspired, philosophers working on the continent with English-speaking philosophers. That was one intention leading to the present book.  Yet, along with that intention, and since bringing it to practice involved a dialogue and a comparison of traditions in contemporary philosophy which do not, in fact, communicate very easily, the project had a more specific agenda: authors were invited to consider issues such as the way internalism/externalism debates reflect on problems of self-knowledge, first-person authority and interpretation, mediated/unmediated knowledge of self, the role of self or subject in the foundations of knowledge, the place of perspective in nature (i.e. the nature of experience), as well as on the way the approach to such questions reflects both on a framework for cognitive science, and on realist/anti-realist metaphysical commitments. Since so many topics go under ‘consciousness and subjectivity’ in philosophical literature and discussions, our idea was that focusing on these issues would throw light on the more general problem we were interested in.

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