The Notion of a Conscious Subject and its Phenomenological Basis in Prereflexive Self-awareness
Are you already subscribed? Login to check
whether this content is already included on your personal or institutional subscription.
According to the central thesis of this paper, the notion of a conscious subject and the notion used in first person thought (the co-called I-concept) are closely interconnected and they both have their origin in the phenomenology of experience. I try to describe their common phenomenological basis arguing that, in the case of mature human experience, any experience includes an awareness of its metaphysical subject-object structure (basic intentionality) and thereby comes with a prereflexive, non-conceptualized awareness of oneself as the subject in that metaphysical structure. I try to spell out why and how this approach is compatible with the following insight present in the work of many philosophers: the experiencing subject is not present 'as an object' in the experience itself. It is argued that the phenomenologically based notion of a conscious subject is deeply entrenched in our cognitive architecture and is required for any adequate formulation of a number of central scientific issues concerning the physical basis of consciousness.