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Wherever You Go, There You Are: On Individuative Subjective Phenomenology

18 July 2014


That experience requires a subject is all but uncontroversial. It is surprising, then, that contemporary philosophers of mind generally focus on experiences at the expense of subjects. Herein, I argue that beyond the qualitative character (or “what-it’s-like-ness”) of phenomenology, there is a discrete further fact—the subjective character (or “for-me-ness”) of phenomenology—that calls out for explanation. Similar views have recently been endorsed by both Zahavi and Kriegel, but a comparison of the ways they have framed the issue suggests there are two discrete questions afoot: (1) in virtue of what does subjective phenomenology exist whatsoever, and (2) in virtue of what might one’s subjective phenomenology differ from that of one’s perfect duplicate? The second question—that of individuative subjective phenomenology—is my primary concern, and its answer seems to me to require the invocation of haecceities: non-qualitative, non-duplicable properties that uniquely individuate objects (and, in this case, subjects). In other words, I suggest that the property of being the very subject that one is enters essentially into the phenomenological character of all one’s experiences.


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