The Nature of Mind and Subjectivity

The Nature of Mind and Subjectivity
The Nature of Mind and                      Subjectivity

The Nature of Mind and Subjectivity

FINAL PAPER: The Nature of Mind and Subjectivity

Choose one of the following prompts and write an essay of about 3-5 pages (double-spaced):

Prompt 1: Inner Time-Consciousness and Pragmatic Paradox

  1. What is a pragmatic paradox (as opposed to a logical paradox)? What is a pragmatictautology? Briefly explain.
  2. Husserl’s theory of time-consciousness presents a detailed account of our experience of the passage of time. Briefly explain Husserl’s notions of retention, impression, and “protention”. Use a concrete example to explain how, according to Husserl’s theory, these three notions define our consciousness of the passage of time.
  3. In lecture we considered what looks like a paradox in our experience of time: on the one hand, it seems time flows (we experience the passage of time); on the other hand, it seems time does not really flow (physics entails a block theory of spacetime). Do we face a pragmatic paradox in our view of time? Consider: can we consciously think or assert, “time does not really flow”? Would such an experience (of so thinking or asserting) present a pragmatic paradox?

Prompt 2: Cogito, Pragmatic Paradox, and the Wax Argument

  1. What is a pragmatic paradox (as opposed to a logical paradox)? What is a pragmatictautology? Briefly explain.
  2. Briefly explain how Descartes’ cogito works. Is it a pragmatic paradox for me to say or think, “Ido not exist”? Is it a pragmatic tautology for me to say or think, “I exist”? Does Descartes’argument for the certainty of the cogito succeed?
  3. Reconstruct the meditator’s reasoning in the investigation of the piece of wax in the Second Meditation, stating clearly what she is trying to prove by it. How does she show that she doesn’t know the nature of the wax by means of the senses? How does she establish that she doesn’t know the nature of the wax by means of the imagination? On what basis does she conclude that she knows the nature of the wax by means of the (pure) intellect? How does the meditator’s conclusion that she knows the wax by means of the intellect alone help to establish the conclusion that she knows her own mind better than she knows the piece of wax, and how does she establish that conclusion?

Prompt 3: Kant’s Antinomy of Pure Reason

  1. What is an antimony? How does it relate to a paradox?
  2. Consider Kant’s second antinomy. Reconstruct Kant’s argument for the antithesis that composites are not composed of simples and his argument for the thesis that everything is either simple or composed of simples. Try to state precisely why this pair of arguments results in an antinomy, and how it limits what can be accomplished by reason.
  3. Explain Kant’s notions of noumenon and phenomenon. Explain the main idea of his transcendental idealism. How does Kant’s transcendental idealism purport to resolve the second antinomy? Is his resolution successful?

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