Philosophy

Research Article

Subjectivity

Norman Malcolma1

a1 King's College London

In his book The View from Nowhere, Thomas Nagel says that ‘the subjectivity of consciousness is an irreducible feature of reality’ (op. cit., p. 7). He speaks of ‘the essential subjectivity of the mental’ (ibid., p. 17), and of ‘the mind's irreducibly subjective character’ (ibid., p. 28). ‘Mental concepts’, he says, refer to ‘subjective points of view and their modifications’ (ibid., p. 37):

The subjective features of conscious mental processes—as opposed to their physical causes and effects—cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlines the appearances. Not only raw feels but also intentional mental states—however objective their content—must be capable of manifesting themselves in subjective form to be in the mind at all (ibid., pp. 15–16).