In recent discussions of phenomenal consciousness, a distinction is sometimes made between the qualitative character of an experience (i.e. the specific way it feels to the subject, e.g. painful or reddish or funny) and its “for-me-ness” or “mineness” (Zahavi 1999, 2005) or “subjectivity” (Levine 2001) or “subjective character” (Kriegel 2009), i.e. the fact that there is something it is like at all for the subject. (The second aspect is discussed under different terms by many more contemporary authors, including G. Strawson, Hohwy, Metzinger, Gallagher, Poellner, and Flanagan, and was also central to earlier work by William James, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre.)
While the qualitative dimension of phenomenality was the focus of most of the classical debate on the “hard problem” of consciousness, the subjective dimension is now increasingly treated as a phenomenal aspect deserving attention in its own right. Some (e.g. Dainton 2008, Schear 2009), however, have challenged the claim that there is a unique, distinctive aspect of phenomenal consciousness that marks all of a subject’s conscious states as hers. It is also unclear whether a notion of phenomenal “mineness” is really needed for the various explanatory tasks it has recently been recruited for (e.g. accounting for the capacity of subjects to explicitly self-attribute their experiences, for the unity of consciousness, for the persistence of personal identity through time, etc.)
The group LOGOS at the University of Barcelona will host a two-day conference on the sense of mineness, with the aim of taking stock of the current state of the debate. This is the first event of the Spanish Research Council project “About Ourselves” (FFI2013-47948-P).
Dates: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2015
Venue: Residència d’Investigadors, C/Hospital, 64 – 08001 Barcelona