A Pragmatic Conception of Consciousness

8 Jan 2013 Chris Eddy (Swindon Philosophical Society) Details I want to propose a pragmatic conception of consciousness, i.e. that it is not a state, either spiritual or physical, but an activity, operation or way of functioning, so that one who engages in that activity can be said to be acting or operating or functioning 'consciously'. To accept this proposal is to entertain the notion that consciousness is a virtual attribute, i.e. that we are conscious by virtue of engaging in a particular activity, and that we can be conscious of - and only of - whatever can become an object of that activity, e.g., shapes, colours, internal sensations, actions, reasons, conclusions, contradictions, selves, etc. I shall argue that discourse is the activity by virtue of which we are conscious.