Awareness of Objects

  • Eddy M. Zemach
Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 3)


How does a subject become aware of some (e.g., external) objects? An answer to this question, I think, can be given only when one recognizes that there are two distinct language games which are essentially connected with our concept of becoming aware of an object. I shall try to show that although both these games are necessary in order for us to have our present concept of being aware of something, they are quite distinct games, and can be played independently of each other. The question “What does an awareness of X consist in?” will thus be shown to be essentially misguided, and its apparent meaningfulness due only to our tendency to commit a conceptual short-circuit here and lose sight of the fact that our epistemic game is actually two games played together in a certain way. Thus I shall attempt to show that the question, “What does awareness of an entity consist in?” is wrong headed in exactly the same way that the question, “What is the chemical constitution of a trump card?” is wrong: they can only be due to a conceptual confusion about the nature of these games.


Sense Perception Relay Station Language Game Intentional Object Conceptual Confusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Wilfrid Sellars, “Metaphysics and the Concept of a Person,” in: The Logical Way of Doing Things, K. Lambert (ed.), New Haven, Yale, 1969, p. 235.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. Shoemaker, Self Knowledge and Self Identity, Ithaca, Cornell, 1963.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Again I use ‘perception’ and ‘memory’ in the “phenomenological” sense, i.e., as short for ‘seeming to perceive’ and ‘seeming to remember.’Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “Science without Experience,” Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969): 791–794.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    “Some Reflections on Language Games,” Philosophy of Science 21 (1954): 204–228; rev. ed. in: Science, Perception and Reality,London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eddy M. Zemach
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations