Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 4(12), pp. 1099 - 1107
DOI: 10.13189/sa.2016.041209
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Don't Say "Consciousness": Toward a Uniform Vocabulary of Subjectivity

Bill Meacham *
Independent Scholar in Philosophy, USA


The language we use to talk about consciousness, experience, mind, subjectivity and the like is ambiguous. Different people use common terms in different ways without realizing it, and thereby foster confusion. In this paper a terminology is proposed for speaking of subjectivity. An operational definition is given of the term "subjectivity," and from that standpoint usages of the terms "experience," "consciousness" and "awareness" are proposed. The approach is both phenomenological in the tradition of Husserl, examining that which is given directly from a first-person point of view while holding in abeyance interpretive theories, and analytic in the British tradition, attempting to clarify terminology used to discuss what is found in such phenomenological investigation. After proposing definitions of salient terms, suggestions are given for reframing confusing language. To make the speaker's meaning clear it is recommended to avoid the term "consciousness" altogether.

Consciousness, Subjectivity, Philosophy of Mind

Cite this paper
Bill Meacham . "Don't Say "Consciousness": Toward a Uniform Vocabulary of Subjectivity." Sociology and Anthropology 4.12 (2016) 1099 - 1107. doi: 10.13189/sa.2016.041209.