Can Subjectivity be Naturalized?
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Metodo: International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy, 1(2):15–25, 2013
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Subjectivity can be naturalized if and only if it can be reduced to nonperspectival “centerless” reality or eliminated altogether.
  2. After briefly discussing Searle’s use of a distinction between epistemic and ontological subjectivity, I show that subjectivity cannot be identified with mind-dependence. Then I focus on a paradigm example of subjectivity: the first-person perspective1.
  3. After explaining the rudimentary and robust stages of a first-person perspective2, I turn to a key ingredient of a robust first-person perspective3: a self-concept.
  4. Then, I argue that a self-concept expresses a nonconceptual dispositional property, which can be neither eliminated nor reduced without cognitive loss. Hence, first-person properties (expressed by self-concepts) cannot be reduced to nonperspectival “centerless” reality or eliminated altogether. Since such first-person properties are paradigmatic of subjectivity, subjectivity cannot be naturalized.

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