How does consciousness exist?: a comparative inquiry on classical empiricism and William James

Yılmaz, Zeliha Burcu
William James denies consciousness as an entity and this rejection lies in the background of my thesis. I searched the main reasons for this rejection in his philosophy. Throughout this search, I perceived two modes of existence of consciousness, that is active and passive. As James improves his thoughts on consciousness over the main arguments of classical empiricists, I explained his radical empiricism and pragmatism in relation to them. It is difficult to answer whether we are completely active or passive in the ways of our thinking and behaving. However, although it includes some problems and inconsistencies, James’s philosophy presents a more plausible explanation of our thinking than rationalism and empiricism, since it can appreciate the changes of our life in an unfinished world of pure experience. Therefore, my inquiry into the existence of consciousness in James depends on this plausibility of the main characteristics of radical empiricism in connection with the classical empiricists.


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Citation Formats
Z. B. Yılmaz, “How does consciousness exist?: a comparative inquiry on classical empiricism and William James,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.