Respecting appearances: a phenomenological approach to consciousness

Charles Siewert

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Phenomenology

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594900
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Respecting appearances: a phenomenological approach to consciousness

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  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Epistemology



This chapter reports the philosophy focusing mainly on just three foundational concerns. These are: (1) the character of a phenomenological approach; (2) its use to clarify the notion of phenomenal consciousness (or ‘phenomenality’); and (3) its application to questions about a specifically sensory phenomenality and its ‘intentionality’ or ‘object-directedness’. Phenomenology involves the use of ‘first-person reflection’. The ways into the notion of phenomenality are elaborated. The ‘subjective experience’ conception of phenomenality uses a conception of experience on which this is something that coincides with the subject's experience of it, and differs insofar as the subject experiences it differently. The conception of phenomenality combines subjective experience, subjective contrast, and subjective knowledge, elaborating on each of these to yield distinct but mutually reinforcing accounts. It then argues on phenomenological grounds that the character of sense experience makes it ‘objectual’ and susceptible to experiences of illusion and disillusion.

Keywords: philosophy; phenomenological approach; phenomenal consciousness; phenomenality; phenomenology; subjective experience; subjective contrast; subjective knowledge

Article.  11837 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind ; Epistemology

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