What is to Be Properly Called the 'Subject' - Genealogy of a Concept
Languages of publication
The contemporary debate about the 'crisis of the subject' has inspired this article. Its aim is to offer some indications concerning genealogy of the notion of 'subject'. Current epistemology which uses this term tends to employ it interchangeably with 'active subjectivity', 'soul', 'mental substance', 'person', 'mind', 'consciousness', 'the self'. In the opinion of the authors such uses are confusing, mutually contradictory and collectively too broad. The tendency to such lax employment of the term 'subject' can be traced back to Cartesian commitment to the self-conscious 'I', and the ensuing efforts in the modern times to accommodate the 'objective' with the 'subjective'. Critics of Descartes, regardless of whether they represented the analytic or the continental traditions, took over the concept of subject from the 'Meditations', which ultimately resulted in departing from the ancient and medieval practice of resting the subject on ontological foundations. Moreover, the new practice led to a radically novel treatment of the concept of 'person', a treatment that is also by no means free from vagueness and contradiction.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier