The identity of experiences and the identity of the subject
- 35 Downloads
Barry Dainton has developed a sophisticated version of the bundle theory of the subject of experiences. I shall focus on three claims Dainton makes: the identity-conditions of subjects can be specified in terms of capacities to produce experiences; the identity-conditions of token capacities are not determined by their subjects; and a subject is nothing over and above a bundle of such capacities. I shall argue that Dainton’s key notion of co-consciousness, a primitive relation of experienced togetherness, presupposes a subject common to each of the experiences which are experienced together. Therefore, co-consciousness cannot be used to state the identity-conditions of subjects in a non-circular manner. I shall also argue that none of the different options Dainton offers for specifying the identity-conditions of token experiential capacities independently of their subjects are successful. I shall then outline a way in which this can be done, but argue that it undermines the claim that a subject is nothing over and above a bundle of such capacities.
KeywordsExperience Subject C-system Experiential capacity Identity-conditions Co–consciousness
Thanks to Martine Nida-Rümelin, Helen Steward, Tom McClelland, Jiri Benovsky and an anonymous referee for their comments on this paper. Thanks also to the audience at the EXRE colloquium in Fribourg.
- Bayne, T., & Chalmers, D. J. (2003). What is the unity of consciousness? In A. Cleeremans (Ed.), The unity of consciousness: binding, integration and dissociation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Benovsky, J. (2009). The self: A humean bundle and/or a cartesian substance? European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 5(1), 7–19.Google Scholar
- Brook, A., & Raymont, P. (2017). The unity of consciousness. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/consciousness-unity/. Accessed 10 May 2018.
- Dainton, B. (2004b). Précis: Stream of consciousness. Psyche, 10, 1–29.Google Scholar
- Hume, D. (1978 ). A treatise of human nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lowe, E. J. (2006). The four-category ontology: A metaphysical foundation for natural science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- O’Conaill, D. (2018). What we conceive of when we conceive of zombies. In M. Guta (Ed.), Consciousness and the ontology of properties. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Steward, H. (1997). The ontology of mind: Events, processes, and states. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar