Friday, February 13, 2009

Let's 'know' together

Two quotations by Walker Percy:

1. Awareness is not only intentional in character; it is also symbolic.... I am not only conscious of something; I am conscious of it as being what it is for you and me. If there is a wisdom in etymologies, the word consciousness is surely a case in point; for consciousness, one suddenly realizes, means a knowing-with! In truth it could not be otherwise. The act of consciousness is the intending of the object as being what it is for both of us under the auspices of the symbol.... Mead's major thesis was that the individual trascendental conscious is a myth, that mind and consciousness are indefeasibly social realities.

2. The decisive stroke against the myth of the autonomous Kantian subject is the intersubjective constitution of consciousness. There is a mutuality between the I and the Thou and the object which is in itself prime and irreducible. Once, in theorizing, this relation is ruptured, it cannot be recovered thereafter -- witness the failure of both Sartre and the empiricists to give an account of intersubjectivity.

The first quote is from "Symbol, Consciousness, and Intersubjectivity," in The Message in the Bottle.

The second quote is from "Symbol as Hermeneutic in Existentialism," in The Message in the Bottle.

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