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How To Talk About Subjectivity

by Bill Meacham on August 20th, 2017

I continue to advocate for using clearer language about experience, consciousness, awareness, subjectivity and the like, in hopes of promoting clearer thinking. Back in May I presented a paper to the International Congress on Consciousness in Miami titled “How To Talk About Subjectivity (Don’t Say ‘Consciousness’).” It is scheduled to be published in the Journal of Consciousness, Vol. 19, No. 62, and you can read the entire text here:

http://www.bmeacham.com/whatswhat/TalkAboutSubjectivity_v4.html

This paper revises my earlier recommendations for using the terms “being conscious” and “being aware.” I now use them as synonyms. Many other languages have only one word for “conscious” and “aware.” Others have two, but the two do not translate directly to the two in English. So now I call being conscious wakingly and explicitly “being focally conscious” or “being focally aware.” I call being conscious of vague and indistinct or subliminal objects “being peripherally conscious” or “being peripherally aware.”

I still recommend avoiding the terms “consciousness” and “awareness,” as they are dreadfully ambiguous. If you must use them, please specify the meaning you intend. The paper lists quite a number of them.

From → Philosophy

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