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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: August 2016

6 - The argument with the philosophy of consciousness continued

from Part I - Introduction: confrontation of analytical philosophy with traditional conceptions of philosophy


The debate with the second step of the philosophy of consciousness – the transcendental approach – went in favour of the language-analytical position. How is it with the third step, in which the transcendental question concerning the conditions of the possibility of the experience of objects led to modes of consciousness which are no longer objectual?

In this extension of the enquiry beyond objects transcendental philosophy failed to take account of sentences. It thereby passed over a whole dimension of non-objectual consciousness without which there is also no objectual consciousness. Thus in extending the thematic it started out from an unclear basis. On the other hand, with the world-problem there is opened up, in both the Kantian and the Heideggerian version (connection of objects in space and time; connection of significance), a dimension of consciousness which goes beyond the understanding of sentences just as much as beyond the relationship to objects. Also the other non-objectual modes of consciousness, such as the consciousness of action-rules (the same is true of the experience of a sensible manifold such as the view of a landscape or the hearing of a melody) are not ‘logical’ modes of consciousness, are not articulated in sentences. Here then we encounter a limitation of the language-analytical approach, if this is understood as formal semantics.

But if we recognize such a limitation from whence do we get our criterion of universality? Clearly we orientate ourselves towards a broad concept of consciousness in the sense of what Heidegger meant by ‘dis-closedness’. But what is to be understood by consciousness in general? Plainly we have no clear concept of this. Nor do we have a clear concept of the various non-logical modes of consciousness; what is actually meant by a consciousness of spatial and temporal connections, by an action-consciousness and so on? Until we can see more clearly here we can have no idea how we should concretely conceive an extension of the universal approach beyond the sphere of sentences. In particular it must remain unclear whether, and if so how, a formal analysis of a non-linguistically articulated consciousness is possible, what formalization would mean here, or what would have to take the place of formalization.

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Traditional and Analytical Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781316535608
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