Post-Kantian Philosophy: ("Kant's Not So Logical Subject" -…
Lilian's Paper -Embodiment and Self-Awareness:
(1) General Argument for Embodiment:
Self-consciousness should not refer to a noumenal or a mental self but should conceive of itself as an embodied subject - a person among persons regarding itself as an objective order of the world. A shift from an "I think" that accompanies all representations to an embodiment accopmanying all represenations.
The view is that embodiement is
a neccessary precondition for self-consciousness.
Cassam & Evans more or less hold that:
we can only become aware of ourselves as subjects if we are at the very same time aware of ourselves as objects located in the spatio temporal world.
The claim is that self reference involves referring to a subject that is both mental and physical at the very same time. So, awareness of ourselves qua subject is just awareness of ourselves qua object.
Evans is pro embodiment, Cassam has inhereited Evans view in part and is pro embodiment. Lilian and Anscombe are anti-embodiment. Lilian uses Husserl's view, which Evans implicitly agrees with to show that Cassam and Evans are wrong.
(2) Evans View:
1. "I" is a referring position:
Despite the trend in the literature Evans thinks the "I" is a referring expression in that it makes claims about us as being in the objective order of things. Thus the "I" refers to object as well as subject he thinks.
2. IEM is true with respect to mental ascriptions and bodily ones.
proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness has IEM.
Proprioceptive Awareness: ‘Someone’s legs are crossed, but is it my legs that are crossed?
kinaesthetic awareness: ‘Someone is in my bedroom, but is it I?’; ‘Someone is moving, but is it I?’
Consciousness of myself as the (embodied) subject of thought is necessarily a consciousness of myself as an object individuated as an existing thing located in time and space.
embodiment is an enabling aspect of cognition
“Any thinker who has an idea of an objective spatial world – an idea of a world of objects and phenomena which can be perceived but which are not dependent on being perceived for their existence – must be able to think of his perception of the world as being simultaneously due to his position in the world, and to the condition of the world at that position. …. The idea that there is an objective world and the idea that the subject is somewhere cannot be separated…”
(A) Explains how objective experience is possible:
I am necessarily, an element of the objective order located at a position in space ‘here’ and it is this location that I feel when I move around.
To put it otherwise, we can only perceive the world from our point of view, and our viewpoint is one located in the objective world.
When we are conscious of ourselves as subjects of thought we are also conscious of ourselves as objects of thought, namely, we are conscious of ourselves as embodied beings existing in a spatio-temporal world.
For Evans the dualism that comes about through the body-for-itself and the body-for-others is just as unacceptable as the traditional Cartesian subject object dualism that Sarte himself objects to (dualism of inner theatre of consciousness and the exteriority of the body).
(3) Cassams View:
We should not understand the ‘I think’ merely as
a unitary pole,
but as an embodied and spatially located bearer of perceptual states.
Similarily to Evan's seeing this as an enabling aspect of cognition he sees this is neccessary if one's representations are to be thought of as relating to physical objects.
4. Susceptibility to the incompatibility objection:
He is susceptible to the incompatibility objection because of the fact that he is holding that one is aware of oneself as a "subject-object". However given that this includes object and awareness of oneself as object does not have IEM then this cannot include awareness of subject too as awareness of oneself as subject must have IEM.
He unconvincingly attempts to sidestep this with his broad and narrow conception.
Why is embodiment an enabling aspect of Cognition:
a disembodied subject does not have a sense of location in the world, it would not have an egocentric understanding of space and could not see objects as oriented around its body. A disembodied subject would be unable to distinguish between below, above, left or right.
3. Implications for Self-Consciousness:
Cassam argues that ‘self-consciousness is intimately bound up with awareness of the subject ‘as an object’ not as an ‘immaterial’ substance but as a physical object in the world of physical objects’. When we know ourselves as subjects of experience, we necessarily also know ourselves as objects of experience.
One is aware of oneself as a "subject-object" as Merleau Ponty describes it.
Thus the self as object and subject kind of merge.
Unlike Evans and Cassam, I believe that the conjunction between the lived body and the objective body can never be one of identity. We can still draw a clear separation between the body as subject and the body as object.
(4) Lived Body vs Objective Body:
Lived vs Objective Body:
Husserl's view is of the lived body (awareness of physical self as subject) is distinct from the objective body (awareness of physical self as object).
When touching one's own hands one experiences both the lived and objective body, One expereinces touching (subject) and the body that one is touching (object).
Merleau Ponty calls this an ambiguous mode of existence:
It is ambiguous since it is neither completely one nor the other. The moment my hand touches another hand, the distinction between touching and being touched becomes blurred. The hand is not only active but in the very instant that it is touching it is being touched (passive) and experienced as a bodily thing. It is impossible to say which hand touches the other. Each one is both touching and being touched. The division between the activity of touching and the passivity of being touched is blurred.
Cassam Endorses this ambiguity
and holds that we must be aware of ourself qua subject as physical thing ie. as shaped located and solid but not as two separate things.
Disagrees with Merlau Ponty:
because MP still distinguishes between the awareness of ourselves as object and awareness of ourselves as subject in his distinction between the “phenomenal body and the objective body”.
Absolute Sense of Hereness:
For Husserl the body as subject is distinct as we can never experience ourselves as solely occupying a particular place in space but we also necessarily experience an absolute sense of place which is distinct from the particular places we occupy. No matter how much we move around in the world (occupying different places) – moving from one sense of ‘hereness’ to another-, we also always have an absolute sense of being ‘Here’: I cannot be anywhere else but Here. I can never be ‘over there’.
Evan's views "hereness" in two ways:
Our empirical sense of “hereness” referring to the objective way of thinking about the egocentric sense of space - the actual space in which I am spatially and temporally located in the world.
This is essentially a perceptual demonstrative and is not IEM.
The general egocentric sense of “hereness” - this is just the place which “I” occupy Here’ is the place which ‘I’ occupy.
This place is IEM as long as we recognise that the place we are referring to is the abiding sense of place or what I have called the universal sense of place which we can never undo.
Evans agrees with the distinction Husserl draws between our
universal sense of hereness and our particular one
. One is linked to the specific information we receive and the other more fundamental one refers to our egocentric sense of place which we cannot fail to have even when no, or the wrong, information is available.
Where Hereness is opposed to Embodiment:
It suggests that the capacity for first person reference is no longer compatible with the capacity to perceive ourselves as taking up a particular place in the objective order of the world.
It refers to the capacity of conceiving ourselves as the point of origin of egocentric space which is the space which the subject necessarily identifies as ‘here’ and which she can never leave behind.
If the absolute sense of hereness is no longer compatible with the particular place we occupy in the objective world, a chasm opens up between the body as subject and the body as object. For only the body as object functions as a demonstrative and can be located; the absolute sense of place which the body as subject senses as she moves around the world, in turn, cannot be seen from the outside. It cannot be located on the spatio-temporal cognitive map as our sense of ‘hereness’ remains absolute no matter how much I move around the world. There is thus a necessary chasm that separates the body as subject from the body as object; the duality between the body as subject and body as object cannot be avoided.
Essentially what we're saying here is that hereness does not imply embodiment its just part of the phenomenology of self-consciousness
"Kant's Not So Logical Subject"
- Lilian Alweiss
1. The Reflection Problem:
We use the first person pronoun "I" but many think it is nothing more than a linguistic convention. Just an necessity of syntax that is in actuality not a placeholder for anything in particular.
Reference to the Self can be said to be just a practical requirement, a grammatical invention or a figment of the imagination.
“when I enter most deeply into myself what I find are my perceptions but what I do not see is myself.”
While it feels as if there is an I that
a contiuum of experience in actuality the I just
this contiuum of experience.
There is no introspective awareness of a "self" or "mental subject" with which I am acquainted.
"thinking is what is going on is what one should say just as one would say "lightning is occurring"" - Lichtenberg
(B) Reflection Problem:
States that it is impossible to account for a self as a subject of thought for as soon as I try to reflect on it, it escapes my regard. The problem is that we can only refer to ourselves as objects of reflection. We can report on our thoughts, feelings and perceptions but we can never account for the self in its first person mode of accesss, namely, the self that is doing the reporting.
I can see myself as an object but never as a subject of thought.
2. Anscombe and reflection problem:
(A) The Extraordinary Conclusion:
That we can account for experience without attributing it to a subject of thought.
(A) The reference to an "I" has no phenomenological significance.
There is nothing distinctive about the first person reference - its neither a name nor a kind of refernece and
(B) Immunity to Error through misidentification:
She believes "I" is only a referring expression in that it invariably refers to the person who utters it.
Anscombe disagrees with Sydney Shoemakers conception of IEM and says he's missing a sortal concept.
According to Anscombe the reason certain "I" users have IEM is not because they pick out the right object but rather because they make no attempt whatsoever to get hold of an object in the first place because the "I" makes no additional reference.
Getting hold of the wrong object is excluded and that makes us think that getting hold of the right object is guaranteed but the reason there is that there is no getting hold of an object at all.
This is essentially the difference between referring oneself as object versus subject.
3. Kant's Ownership Theory:
2. Unity of Apperception: Necessity of the "I think":
Kant holds that the "I think" needs to accompany all my representations because otherwise something would be represented in me that could not be thought at all which is as much as to say that the representation would either be impossible or at least would be nothing to me."
If representations were not owned identification and re-identification would not be possible and as a result it would be impossible to experience anything at all or to even form a coherent thought.
3. Consciousness must be owned over time:
Holds that this is a necessity because the sense of mineness doesn't change and this allows me to make sense of experience over time.
"I am conscious of the identical self in regard to the manifold of the representations that are given to me in an intuition because I call them altogether MY representations".
(B) Anscombe–This actually does not conflict with Anscombe's positionas he is not claiming that the "I" is a referring expression either for the following reasons.
Kant emphasises that we should not confuse the consciousness of the "self-same I" with the numerical identity of the person.
K warns us not to confuse formal conditions with ontological or metaphysical claims. The "I" neither refers to a metaphysical or nouminal self nor an empirical subject.
It does not exist in this world, it is not a part of it but merely accompanies all my representations. To this extent it is non-phenomenal.
We are told the simple representation "I" is in itself empty of all content and does not involve a determinate "intution of the subject as object".
It's not even a concept just a bare consciousness which must accompany all concepts.
The I is to be understood as a necessary correlate to experience, independent of it it is nothing. This is universal to all thinking beings - period.
So the Kantian "I think" that exists over time is totally consistent with Anscombe's view that there is no getting hold of an object. The I doesn't and cannot denote anything. It is an empty expression that can apply to every thinking subject. It should not surprise Kant
The only possible reference to a Self that makes sense is to a synthetic unity which needs to be assumed in order to make sense of experience . However, apart from this it is nothing.
1 more item...
1. Need "I think" for experience:
Insists that we cannot make sense of experience without an appeal to an "i think" that accompanies all my representation but realises that this self cannot be known, only posited
Two reasons Kant arrived at this conclusion:
1. "Thoughts without intuitions are empty"
2. Thought is essentially reflexive:
No thinking subject can ever be rendered into an object of representation since every representation necessarily points back to a subject that has these representations.
C1: I have no knowledge as I am, merely as I appear to myself:
The self in the act can never determine its won activity but only what us ither to itself, its empirical self.
This is why I have no knowledge as I am but merely as I appear to myself.
C2: The "I" is systematically elusive.
According to Kant we should never regard the Self as a thing (substance) that is open to observational knowledge and that can be known or represented, we should instead see it as an activity.
Kant holds that the reflection problem does not tell us anything about the ontology of the self but merely highlights a defining feature of the self - that it is not open to obersvational knowledge because its not a thing.
(4) Ontology of the "I think"
How can the "I think" be a unified and continuous subject supposedly having represenations whilst also not existing? How can Kant's ownership theory sit with his Anscombe like conception of the Self as without a referent.
(A) "I think" is an activity not a "thing"
This means we do experience the Self but in a categorically different way to the way we experience objects.
Not by observing it but by being it. This is why he uses the term "Apperception". It literally means a perception that occurs alongside or accompanies all my representations.
Not by observing it but by being it. This is why he uses the term "Apperception". It literally means a perception that occurs alongside or accompanies all my representations.
"The identity of the subject is not a given and does not simply come about through my accompanying each representation with consciousness but only so far as I conjoin one representation with another and am conscious of them."
Kant's view of the Self:
(B) "I think" is a synthesis
There is no "I think" independent of its synthesizing activity. It refers to the capacity to think and the "I think" or "transcendental unity of apperception" has no other function or status than that of being the unifying activity of combination and reflection.
The subject is not merely being posited as a neccessary correlate of experience, rather we learn that a sense of self comes about or emerges through the synthesizing activtiy. To this extent the "I" only exists with the act. It exists in and through the activity and not as a thing or subject.
(C) Object vs Subject:
The awareness of myself is not as an object of thought. The awareness of myself as a synthesising activity is one that cannot be predicated - it is not based on inference or judgement of identity.
This distinction is between consciousness of ourselves and knowledge of ourselves Consciousness of ourselves is far from being knowledge of ourselves.
(4) How Kant differs to Anscombe:
Non-ownership theorists are wrong in assuming that our immediate awareness must be verifiable without reference to the first person perspective. The Self must refer to something that exists independently of this activity or that is prior to the self-apprehension of this activity otherwise there is nothing. (Basically the non-ownership theorists believe there must exist and by a self that is being referred to prior to the activity of synthesis.) They believe we only succeed in referrring when we have the ability to identify and recognize the referent "I".
How they're wrong:
They fail to realize that the referent model cannot provide access to the self not because there is no self (although I think its fair to say that in comparison to how REAL the self feels it's reasonable to hold that there is no self). because there is no way of finding out what the self is unless it is already related to itself.
They're missing the distinctive features of the Self
Namely that as soon as I try and recognise or identify the referent "I", I have lost the features of it. It's for this reason that we cannot encounter the subject of experience in perception as the subject because nothing is given as an object which is the subject of perceptual experience.
The way in which the "I" refers is fundamentally different from the way in which we can refer to objects
Categorical and determinate and only known from without. Pre-categorical and indeterminate and only known from within.
KNowledge of Self:
Pre-categorical and indeterminate and only known from within.
Kant has solved the reflection problem:
The "I think" is a first principle which we experience by being it. We experience it in and through our synthesising activity.
The Self is thus real but not as a subject, as an activity.