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subjectivity

christopher peacocke


Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192589.1993.x


Extract

Subjectivity has been attributed variously to certain concepts; to certain properties of objects; and to certain modes of understanding. The overarching idea of these attributions is that the nature of the concepts, properties or modes of understanding in question is dependent upon the properties and relations of the subjects who employ those concepts, possess the properties or exercise those modes of understanding. The dependence may be a dependence upon the particular subject, or upon some type which the subject instantiates. What is not so dependent is objective. In fact, there is virtually nothing which has not been declared subjective by some thinker or other, including such unlikely candidates as space and time ( K ant ) and the natural numbers (Brouwer). In recent years there has been a lively debate about the more plausible candidates. There are several sorts of subjectivity to be distinguished, if subjectivity is attributed to a concept, considered as a way of thinking of some object or property. It would be much too undiscriminating to say that a concept is subjective if particular mental states are mentioned in the correct account of mastery of the concept. For instance, if the later Wittgenstein is right, the mental state of finding it natural to go on one way rather than another has to be mentioned in the account of mastery of any concept. All concepts would then be ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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