Subjectivity and the Social World: A Collection of Essays around issues relating to the Subject, the Body and Others
At a time when the US government is spending enormous amounts of money on a project called BRAIN and the European Union has committed itself to the multi-million Human Brain Project, the chances of revealing the workings of the neuronal components of the brain are as good as they have ever been. Nevertheless, even if brain functions – or the entire brain – could be simulated on a computer one day, as the EU project aims for, the question of the relation between the experiencing subject and the brain is still an open one.
The tension between experienced subjectivity and its biological basis is at the core of recent philosophical, psychological, sociological, biological and interdisciplinary debates. The traditional Cartesian inner theatre and the resulting substance dualism cannot be made to fit scientific requirements. Reductive accounts, claiming some identity between mental and physical occurrences, display difficulties when it comes to accounting for the experiential dimension of human life. The central question is: What is a subject and how does a subject interact with others? This book is a collection of papers that provides innovative and insightful answers to this question. It is, therefore, as its name suggests, a discussion of subjectivity and the social world.
Tom Feldges is a PhD student at the University of Hull. For his thesis, he takes scientific explanations of the brain as a point of departure to contrast them with an apparent inability to account for consciousness. He aims to analyse Francisco Varela’s proposal to blend Husserl’s phenomenology with scientific methods in relation to its underlying theoretical assumptions to assess if Varela’s proposal can work.
Josh N.W. Gray is a PhD student at the University of Hull. His main interest is Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, especially in relation to subjectivity and intersubjectivity. His research centres on taking an innovative approach to Wittgenstein-interpretation by turning towards phenomenology, using, especially, the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Stephen Burwood has taught Philosophy at the University of Hull for more than twenty years. He considers himself to be a generalist in philosophy, though his main research interests are in the philosophy of mind and embodied subjectivity, the philosophy of education and the later Wittgenstein. He is the author (with Paul Gilbert and Kathleen Lennon) of Philosophy of Mind (UCL Press, 1998) and (with Paul Gilbert and Søren Overgaard) of An Introduction to Metaphilsophy (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
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