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Joel W. Krueger

In this essay, I argue that Sartre's notion of pre-reflective consciousness can be summoned to offer a general challenge to contemporary functionalist accounts of mind, broadly construed. In virtue of the challenge Sartre offers these contemporary functionalist accounts and the richness of his phenomenological analysis, I conclude that his voice needs to be included in ongoing debates over the nature of consciousness. First, I look at some of the basic claims motivating functionalist accounts of mind. Next, I look at Sartre's notion of pre-reflective consciousness and discuss how this notion challenges functionalist accounts of mentality. I conclude by suggesting that Sartre's rendering of pre-reflective consciousness remains overly cognitivist. I show how this notion can be deepened to include the sensory-motor capacities of the situated body—resulting in a pre-reflective bodily self-awareness—and how this deepened formulation offers a further challenge to functionalist accounts of mind.

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Diasporas without a consciousness

Japanese Americans and the lack of a Nikkei identity

Takeyuki Gaku Tsuda

English abstract: Some scholars have recently suggested that the concept of diaspora should be regarded as a type of identity or consciousness instead of as a transnational ethnic community. While it is undeniable that some dispersed ethnic populations identify as diasporic peoples, older “economic diasporas“ sometimes have lost their transnational social cohesion and do not have a diasporic consciousness. I illustrate this by examining the experiences of Japanese Americans, an important part of the “Japanese diaspora“ of Japanese descendants (Nikkei) scattered throughout the Americas. Because they have become assimilated in the United States over the generations, they no longer maintain any notable diasporic identification with the ethnic homeland or to other Japanese descent ethnic communities in the Americas. Even when they encounter Nikkei from other countries, national cultural differences make it difficult for them to develop a diasporic identity as Japanese descendants with a common cultural heritage or historical experiences.

Spanish abstract: Algunos académicos han sugerido recientemente que el concepto de diáspora debe ser considerado como un tipo de identidad o conciencia en lugar de una comunidad étnica transnacional. Si bien es innegable que algunos dispersos grupos étnicos se identifican como pueblos en diáspora, las diásporas económicos más antiguos a veces han perdido su cohesión social transnacional y no tienen conciencia de diáspora. Este artículo ilustra esta situación examinando las experiencias de los estadounidenses de origen japonés, una parte importante de la diáspora japonesa de los descendientes de japoneses (Nikkei) repartidos por todo el continente americano. Debido a que se han asimilado en los Estados Unidos a lo largo de las generaciones, este grupo ya no mantiene una notable identificación de la diáspora con el país de origen étnico o con las otras comunidades de descendientes de japoneses étnicos en las Américas. Incluso cuando se encuentran con gente Nikkei de otros países, las diferencias nacionales-culturales hacen que sea difícil para ellos desarrollar una identidad de diáspora como descendientes de japoneses con un patrimonio cultural común o de experiencias históricas.

French abstract: Certains chercheurs ont récemment suggéré l’idée que le concept de diaspora devrait être considéré comme un type d’identité ou une forme de conscience, et non plus comme une communauté ethnique transnationale. S’il s’avère indéniable que certains groupes ethniques dispersés soient parvenus à s’identifier en tant que peuple de la diaspora (peuples diasporiques), il n’en demeure pas moins que les « diasporas économiques » plus anciens ont perdus dans ce processus leur cohésion sociale transnationale traditionnelle ainsi qu’une part de leur conscience diasporique. J’illustre cela en examinant les expériences des Américains d’origine japonaise, particulièrement celle de la descendance des Nikkei qui représente l’une des franges de la diaspora japonaise la plus répandue à travers les Amériques. Bien qu’ils aient réussi leur assimilation aux États-Unis au fil des générations, ces derniers n’ont toutefois pas su conserver l’identité diasporique qui les reliait avec leur région d’origine ou à d’autres communautés ethniques d’origine japonaise présentes dans les Amériques. Même quand ils rencontrent les Nikkei en provenance d’autres pays, les différences culturelles nationales qui les séparent font qu’il leur est difficile de développer une identité diasporique qui permette de les distinguer comme des descendants japonais partageant un patrimoine culturel commun ou une expérience historique commune.

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The Place of Politics

The Notion of Consciousness in Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh's Political Thought

Assaf Tamari

The notion of consciousness change as a political concept has re-emerged as a central issue in recent Israeli political discourse in diverse and seemingly remote groups. The following is a study of some of the contexts and implications of according primacy to consciousness change in political thought, through the tensions between the highly individualistic character of this discourse and its collective language and aims. I focus on one study case, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a key figure in both extreme settler groups and current New Age Hasidic revival. Analyzing his political writings, I explore his notion of consciousness as the true place of politics. Finally, I return to the question of the context in which Rabbi Ginsburgh's binding of the political to consciousness should be read, and propose liberal individualism, and the direct line it draws between the individual's consciousness and that of the state, as an alternative hermeneutical perspective.

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P. Sven Arvidson

According to philosopher Paul Woodruff, reverent awe is a feeling of being limited or dwarfed by something larger than the human, usually accompanied by feelings of respect for fellow human beings. Drawing from Jean-Paul Sartre’s early philosophy, this article responds positively to the title question, showing how reverent awe is in bad faith yet is similar to anguish, and unique with respect to both. Especially remarkable in reverent awe is the feeling of connectedness to humankind. In section two, building on this section one framework of how Sartrean consciousness can be reverent, the article explores how being-in-itself (l’être-en-soi) can be an object of reverent awe.

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Hazel E. Barnes

While Sartre scholars cannot fairly be described as being opposed to science, they have, for the most part, stayed aloof. The field of psychology, of course, has been an exception. Sartre himself felt compelled to present his own existential psychoanalysis by marking the parallels and differences between his position and traditional approaches, particularly the Freudian. The same is true with respect to his concept of bad faith and of emotional behavior. Scholars have followed his lead with richly productive results. But we may note that the debate has centered on psychic and therapeutic issues, aspects of what Sartre called le vécu or lived experience, rather than on the findings of cognitive science or neuroscience. Although all existentialists and phenomenologists accept as a central tenet the fact that consciousness is embodied, there has been virtually no concern with the biological substratum. But the study of consciousness cannot be restricted within its own narrow confines—unlike, say, Greek grammar, which can be learned without reference to the rules of Arabic. At some point, there must be established an organic foundation for the behavior of the conscious organism.

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Sartrean Self-Consciousness and the Principle of Identity

Sartre’s Implicit Argument for the Non-Self-Identity of the Subject

Maiya Jordan

I address the problem of what grounds Sartre’s paradoxical claim that consciousness is non-self-identical, and his equally paradoxical gloss on that claim—that the nature of consciousness is to be what it is not and not to be what it is. I argue that there is an implicit argument in Being and Nothingness, which both entails and elucidates Sartre’s claim that consciousness is non-self-identical, and which also maps on to, and clarifies, the explicit argument that Sartre provides for this conclusion. This implicit argument presupposes that we attribute to Sartre a distinctive theory of pre-reflective self-consciousness— what I call the non-iterative theory. I argue that we should attribute the non-iterative theory to Sartre.

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Reidar Due

This essay raises some questions concerning the method and conceptual structure of Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Three substantially different types of interpretation of this text have been put forward. One of the main issues separating the three interpretative strategies is the relationship that they each establish between Sartre's three fundamental concepts: consciousness, nothingness and freedom—each of which can be seen to play the fundamental role in the argument. It therefore seems crucial for any interpretation of Being and Nothingness to determine the exact relationship between these terms. However, Being and Nothingness presents a hybrid argument that interweaves metaphysical deduction, phenomenological description and moral-existential argument in a way that makes it almost impossible to decide which of the strands of the argument should be seen to dominate the others. It is therefore perhaps equally difficult to ascertain which of its principal concepts has the most central place in the system. One could therefore argue that a reading of Being and Nothingness should aim to account for (rather than dismiss) the hybridity of the argument and then seek to assign relative functions to its different strands. The following remarks are intended as a step in that direction.

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Felix Philipp Lutz

German political culture has been undergoing gradual but significant changes since unification. Military engagements in combat missions, the introduction of a professional army, and a remarkable loss of recent historical knowledge mostly within the younger generations are hallmarks of the new millennium. Extensive education about the Holocaust is still prevalent and there is a strong continuity of attitudes and orientations toward the Nazi era and the Holocaust reaching back to the 1980s. Nevertheless, a lack of knowledge about history-not only the World War II period, but also about East and West Germany-in the age group of people under thirty is staggering. The fading away of the generation of victims who are the last ones to tell the story of persecution during the Holocaust and a parallel rise of new actors and technologies, present challenges to the educational system and the current political culture of Germany.

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Nation Building and the Battle for Consciousness

Discourses on Education in Post-Apartheid Namibia

Mattia Fumanti

Education carries strong emotional connotation in Africa, not least for its association with emancipation, liberation, and social mobility. Drawing on research conducted in Northern Namibia, this essay examines how education is conceived by a cadre of elite, educated professionals working in the Ministry of Basic Education regional offices. It contrasts these officials' views with those of white settlers, many of whom, in contrast, place their faith in the market, not in a regulatory state—and certainly not in a regional educational office. Whereas elite officials deploy images of education for purposes of state making and state ceremonialism, white businessmen use education to undo officials' authority, with the effect, implicitly, of reinscribing apartheid visions of race and governance. This article draws on, and offers ethnographic evidence in support of, a body of theoretical work on state-ritualized uses of education, civil religion, and the moral character (and counter-morality) of state education.

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Hillel Cohen

While the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque constitutes a national and religious focal point for both Israelis and Palestinians, there have been profound differences in the attitudes of the competing national movements to this site. The Zionist movement attempted to create alternative, secular holy places (such as the Jezreel Valley and the Hebrew University) in order to detach itself from blunt messianism, while the Palestinians, from the Mandate period onward, have emphasized their attachment to the holy site in Jerusalem. The revival of suppressed messianic sentiments in Israeli society, however, exposes the religious dimension of the conflict and accentuates the role of the holy sites in Israeli-Palestinian relations.