Consciousness and the World

By Brian O'Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

6 Interiority and Thinking

I pass at this point from considering the causal contribution of the relatively deep-seated factor of mental activeness in the constituting of consciousness to what is undoubtedly the most important example of mental action, namely the active process of thinking. In what follows I attempt to delineate something of the pivotal part which this phenomenon plays in the constituting of consciousness. However, before I do so I shall try to set out briefly what emerged in the previous Chapter 5 .


1 Introduction

(a) Résumé Of Previous Chapter

(1) In Chapter 5 I asked: why does consciousness necessitate mental willing? The answer given was predominantly epistemological. Thus, the first reason advanced was that the perceptual part of the normal epistemological function of consciousness could not be properly discharged by a mind in which the will was immobilized. However, the other reasons were not wholly epistemological. In fact, the second half of the chapter addressed itself only indirectly to issues of knowledge, indeed only indirectly to issues of function. It was concerned instead with the distinctive character of the stream of consciousness of conscious subjects. Here the relation to epistemology was merely implicit.

In that later discussion I advanced two claims linking the character of experience in the conscious with consciousness. The first claim was that the occurrence of a phenomenon with the distinctive character of the stream of consciousness of the conscious, is a necessary and sufficient condition of consciousness. And this is a truly substantive thesis. Of no other state of consciousness can any of the following be said: (i) that it necessitates a stream of consciousness, (ii) that it necessitates a certain kind of stream, (iii) that a certain kind of stream suffices for it. This is evident when one remembers that all non-waking states of consciousness can occur without experience, and that each variety of non-conscious experience occurs in more than one state of consciousness. For example, dreaming occurs in sleep and light unconsciousness, somnambulistic experience occurs in sleep and hypnotic trance, and so on. My suggestion was that waking provides a dramatic contrast on

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Consciousness and the World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Consciousness and the World iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I Consciousness 35
  • 1: The Experience 37
  • 2: The Anatomy of Consciousness 68
  • 3: Self-Consciousness and Self-Knowledge 102
  • 4: 'Translucence' 164
  • 5: Consciousness and the Mental Will 200
  • 6: Interiority and Thinking 233
  • Part II the Attention and Perception 265
  • 7: The Attention 275
  • 8: The Attention and Perception (1) 291
  • 9: The Attention and Perception (2) 302
  • 10: Perception and Truth 318
  • 11: The Imagination (1) 339
  • 12: The Imagination (2) 362
  • 13: Imagination and Perception 371
  • 14: Active Attending or a Theory of Mental Action 379
  • Part III Seeing 407
  • 15: 'Blindsight' and the Essence of Seeing 415
  • 16: Seeing the Light 439
  • 17: Sense-Data (1) or the Ways of the Attention 465
  • 18: Sense-Data (2) 502
  • 19: Secondary Qualities 515
  • 20: The 'Perceptual Given' and 'Perceptual Mediators' or the Formation of the Visual Experience 538
  • 21: Appearances 570
  • 22: Perceptually Constituting the Material Object 592
  • Part IV Perception and the Body 621
  • 23: Proprioception and the Body Image 628
  • 24: The Sense of Touch 656
  • Conclusion 681
  • Index 697
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