Subjectivity, Objectivity and Nagel on Consciousness

Jeffrey Fossa1

a1 University of Victoria

The strong intuition that the facts concerning the subjectivity of consciousness are simply beyond the grasp of objective science is the highest barrier to an intuitively convincing materialism in the philosophy of mind. We are steeped in a tradition which has it that there is, to state it from the first-person point of view, an epistemic difference in principle between my introspectible experience, which only I can apprehend and know, and the things which everyone can apprehend and which form the domain of the natural sciences. This contrast is sometimes cast as that between the subjective stuff of first-person introspectible consciousness and the objective stuff of the natural sciences. In this essay, I will try to budge the view of the subjective-objective distinction which underlies this tradition from its position as tacit dogma.