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2009 | 9 | 121-141

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CONSCIOUSNESS AND SUBJECTIVITY IN CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF MIND (Swiadomowc i subiektywnowc we wspólczesnej filozofii umyslu. Razem, czy oddzielnie?)


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In contemporary philosophy of mind consciousness is in the centre of most debates, despite that the notion is far from being clear. The main reason for those ambiguities is a special relation between consciousness and subjectivity. Subjectivity came along into the problem of consciousness together with an old notion of qualia. It seems as if we could not define consciousness without any reference to subjectivity and qualia, nor could we give any adequate explanations of consciousness without explaining them first. This explicatory and explanatory connection looks inseparable, but probably is wrong. The paper points out that in order to be compatible with the actual, empirical knowledge about living creatures and cognitive agents we should extend the notion of subjectivity. However, the extended subjectivity is no longer distinctive for any kind of consciousness. If we accept this up-to-date understanding of subjectivity we shell end up with a conviction that the notions of phenomenal consciousness and qualia are needless, at least. They were intended to distinguish subjective states from other conscious states, now the intention is pointless. Not only because all consciousness is subjective, but also because there are subjective states which are not conscious. Finally, without eliminating subjectivity we separate it from consciousness. Both are real features but considered as explicatory and explanatory independent which makes their characteristic much clearer. Consciousness is best characterized in terms of the consecutive levels of access to the information processed by a subject. Subjectivity is as an ontological feature of uniqueness of the states of an individual system. Subjective states exist only inside the system or an organism that we call subject and only as being actually experienced, that is why they are directly accessible only for their subject.






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  • Jakub Jonkisz, Akademia Techniczno-Humanistyczna w Bielsku-Bialej, Katedra Filozofii i Nauk Ekonomicznych, ul.Willowa 2, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland


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