Chapter

The Experience

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199256721.003.0002
The Experience

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The experience is the most direct manifestation of the state of waking consciousness. This emerges in that being awake entails having experience, and it is experiences that constitute the stream of consciousness. The concept experience is a genus‐concept rather than a species‐concept, and is indefinable. Unlike mental events that are changes of state, experiences are the change of nothing, for experiential processes are constituted purely of lesser stretches of process and never out of mental states (there being no experience states). Experiences are therefore pure mental flux. The conscious experiencing subject is experientially directly aware of the immediate past, and of the actively intended immediate future, so that in experience we encounter the passage of time. Experience is our primary access to the reality of time.

Keywords: consciousness; experience; flux; indefinability; mental events; mental state; stream of consciousness; time

Chapter.  15752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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