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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

The Grammar of Subjectivity

The Grammar of Subjectivity

(p.59) 8 The Grammar of Subjectivity
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

There is a commonly agreed way to articulate the logical form of a conscious state: it a state such that there is something it is like for a subject to be in it. This formula has the important virtue that it enables us to separate out two distinct aspects in the phenomenology of an experience: what is experienced, the ‘quality’ of the experience; and how it is experienced, that it is experienced as being for-a-subject. A careful examination of the syntax of the ‘what it’s like …’ construction reveals that the colloquial phrase ‘subject of experience’ is polysemic. On the one hand it might mean the subject in whom the experience is occurring. Let me call this the ‘locative of manifestation’. This host self, an inhabited self, is more commonly identified with the physical human being, or the human being’s brain or neuropsychological state, but Pessoa gives instead a phenomenological interpretation of the notion. The phrase might also mean the subject affected by the experience. The affected subject is the one to whom the experience is addressed, so I will call this the ‘accusative of manifestation’. The accusative of manifestation is, evidently, conceptually distinct from the locative of manifestation. Finally, the phrase might mean the subject who is undergoing the experience, the one who lives through the experience, the ‘dative of manifestation.’

Keywords:   what-it-is-like, for-me-ness, subjective character, subject of experience, accusative of manifestation, dative of manifestation

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