[Wittrs] Strawson on Experience and Experiencers

  • From: Joseph Polanik <jpolanik@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 08:41:56 -0500

Cayuse wrote:

>BruceD wrote:

>>I'm trying to make sense of this. This is what I get. We agree that we
>>have experience. We agree that we experience ourselves as an
>>experiencer. But since our experience of ourselves is part of our
>>experience then there is way to tease apart the R from the E.

>If I use the word "experience" to refer to a skill acquired through
>practise (e.g. "machine tool operator required, experience essential")
>then I agree with Strawson that "There cannot be experience without a
>subject of experience because experience is necessarily for someone or
>something --- an experiencer or subject of experience". However, when
>discussing the philosophical problem of consciousness I'm not using the
>word in that manner, and judging by Strawson's writings I doubt very
>much that he is either. This leads me to suspect that he is being
>misled by language (confusion of language games).

>Certainly the *ideas* of experiencer, experienced, and experiencing
>stand in mutual relationship and interdependence, just as do the
>*ideas* of deceiver, and deceived, and deception. When we talk about
>experience as something gained through the practising of a new skill,
>then this mutual relationship and interdependence hold up

I agree that these ideas stand in mutual relation; and, that you've
given a good example of one situation in which the reality corresponds
to this set of ideas.

however, you've not explained why this set of inter-related ideas is not
applicable to the experience of seeing an afterimage.

there is a certain amount of skill involved in inducing an afterimage;
and, it takes a bit of practice to learn this skill.

if I can say that I am the subject of experience when claiming to have
experience learning and exercising the skill of inducing an afterimage;
then, I should be able to say that I am the experiencer of the

after all is said and done, if I am unable to say that I am the
experiencer of the afterimages that I induce, I would have no basis for
saying that I am experienced in the skill of inducing afterimages; or,
that I am the experiencer of my experience in the skill of inducing



Nothing Unreal is Self-Aware



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