By William James
An excerpt from the beginning:
'Thoughts' and 'things' are names for 2 types of item, which good judgment will constantly locate contrasted and should continually essentially oppose to one another. Philosophy, reflecting at the distinction, has diverse long ago in her motives of it, and should be anticipated to alter sooner or later. in the beginning, 'spirit and matter,' 'soul and body,' stood for a couple of equipollent ingredients relatively on a par in weight and curiosity. yet in the future Kant undermined the soul and taken within the transcendental ego, and ever due to the fact that then the bipolar relation has been a great deal off its stability. The transcendental ego turns out these days in rationalist quarters to face for every thing, in empiricist quarters for nearly not anything. within the palms of such writers as Schuppe, Rehmke, Natorp, Munsterberg -- at any fee in his past writings, Schubert-Soldern and others, the non secular precept attenuates itself to a completely ghostly , being just a identify for the truth that the 'content' of expertise is understood. It loses own shape and job - those passing over to the content material -- and turns into a naked Bewusstheit or Bewusstsein ?berhaupt of which in its personal correct completely not anything should be said.
I think that 'consciousness,' while as soon as it has evaporated to this property of natural diaphaneity, is near to disappearing altogether. it's the identify of a nonentity, and has no correct to a spot between first ideas. those that nonetheless hang to it are clinging to an insignificant echo, the faint rumor left in the back of through the disappearing 'soul' upon the air of philosophy. prior to now yr, i've got learn a few articles whose authors appeared simply close to forsaking the proposal of consciousness, and substituting for it that of an absolute adventure now not because of components. yet they weren't really radical adequate, now not fairly bold sufficient of their negations. For 20 years earlier i've got mistrusted 'consciousness' as an entity; for seven or 8 years prior i've got prompt its non-existence to my scholars, and attempted to offer them its pragmatic an identical in realities of expertise. it sort of feels to me that the hour is ripe for it to be overtly and universally discarded.
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Extra info for Does consciousness exist
To learn to speak is to learn to act, and our acts of speech are, for the most part, done knowingly and for a purpose. We can say what we mean and, other things being equal, what we mean and what the words we utter mean in the context of utterance coincide. So the logico-grammatical observations that are to be mustered in order to resolve philosophical problems must be news from nowhere. ’ It is no news that events occur, happen and take place, but do not exist; that they have no coloured surfaces but may emit a smell or make a noise; that there are colourful events, but no coloured ones; that they have phases, but no spatial parts; and so on.
Hacker, ‘Grammar and Necessity’, in Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar and Necessity (WileyBlackwell, Oxford, extensively revised edition, 2009), 241–370. Philosophy: a Contribution to Human Understanding 17 But concepts are no more than abstractions from the uses of symbols, and concept-possession is no more than mastery of the use of concept-expressing symbols. So a conceptual investigation is inevitably and unsurprisingly also an investigation into the uses of words, phrases, and sentences. Linguistic investigations pertinent to philosophical enterprises are, however, very different from those of linguists.
It is no news that events occur, happen and take place, but do not exist; that they have no coloured surfaces but may emit a smell or make a noise; that there are colourful events, but no coloured ones; that they have phases, but no spatial parts; and so on. If a salient method of philosophical clarification consists in no more than reminding people of the way in which they use words, then it may seem mysterious that the problems of philosophy are not solved with the greatest of ease. If every intelligent speaker of the language is perfectly familiar with the sense-determining rules for the use of the words he uses, and if these rules are a key to resolving philosophical problems, then it may seem that any intelligent speaker ought to be able to resolve such problems ad libitum.