The Subject of Consciousness
© C.O. Evans

Chapter 2

Consciousness - 2.3.11 [table of contents]  [previous]  [next]

3. Sir William Hamilton and his Critics

[11] I shall sum up this chapter by extracting those points that will henceforth be presupposed in the development of my argument. (I) The word 'conscious' has a basic sense such that for a person to be conscious in any of the dependent senses he must be conscious in the basic sense. (2) 'Conscious' in the basic sense can be defined. It is a generic concept that may be defined in terms of its several instances. Most important of all, its retention enables us to refer

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to its instantiations without its following that its instances are fully determinable. This feature of the concept is not shared by the concept of experience which many philosophers have preferred to use in its place. As will emerge in the course of the argument this alone is sufficient reason for the retention of the concept as a philosophical term. (3) The concept has application for the reader because it applies in his own case. In this sense we can affirm 'There is consciousness' without prejudging the question whether there is any subject of consciousness to be revealed through its analysis.

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