Subject as a community of scientists
This is a broader generalization, presented in theories of cognition developed in the tradition of English empiricism (from Francis Bacon to Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn). Exit beyond the subject-individual is assumed here due to the appeal to the practice of scientific knowledge, primarily to the methodological procedures for obtaining and substantiating knowledge. The correct method and organized cooperation of scientists are considered as a decisive factor contributing to overcoming the limitations of an individual and ensuring universality, at least for scientific knowledge.
Even broader is the concept of a socio-historical subject. Its essence is as follows. The process and result of cognition, as well as its conditions, result from a socio-historical experience, which includes both theoretical-cognitive and subject-practical activities. The forms of this activity are given to the individual by the objective environment, the totality of knowledge and skills, in short - by the cultural heritage. Self-awareness as a subject arises from the involvement of each individual I to the cultural and historical heritage of society.
From the socio-historical point of view, the subject of knowledge is something more than a specific individual. He acts as the carrier of sociality, "the aggregate of social relations" (K. Marx). The social conditioning of the subject means his inclusion in a certain socio-historical community (people, class, etc.), so his "exit" beyond the limits of individuality always has a certain socio-historical framework. Knowledge of such a subject is not universally impersonal, but retains a certain emotional coloring and value significance.
The most widespread in European philosophy is the version that tends to the most generalized interpretation of the subject as "pure consciousness". The peculiarity of this tradition is that it prefers to deal not so much with the real empirical person as with its refined, and even sacralized essence, separated from the person in the form of some pure "contemplative mind" (noys theoretikos). This mind exists separately from the body, therefore it "is not subject to anything and is not mixed with anything ... only by being separate, it is what it is ..."
God becomes the universal subject of medieval philosophy as a universal creative principle. He is recognized as the pinnacle and the beginning of every rational creation, for God is the greatest mind ( ratio ) from which every mind ". In modern times, the universality of scientific knowledge continues to be associated with the idea of a universal subject.
† René Descartes . For the epistemology of the new European rationalism, the recognition of the unchanging subject of cognition, existing in the form of pure thinking - Ego cogito - and defining the basic characteristics of the world of nature - extended substance is characteristic. Thanks to the necessity and universality of "innate ideas" Carthusian thinking substance (res cogitans ) becomes an autonomous subject of all its cognitive and practical projects and enterprises. The superpersonal nature of the subject manifests itself here through the personal (individual), but the comprehension of this individual by the individual consciousness is possible only because of the presence of a universal (impersonal) content in it. The paradox is that the possibility of achieving general knowledge, and, consequently, the possibility of interpersonal communication is provided here just by impersonal components of human consciousness.
† We develop the detailed concept of the transcendental subject in the Immanuel Kant's philosophy, revealing the internal structure of his organization. According to Kant, the transcendental subject is represented by a complex system of universal and necessary a priori forms of categorial synthesis. Due to their universality, human experience, no matter how unique in content, is organized in accordance with universal forms.
† Georg Hegel . The most characteristic feature of the Hegelian interpretation of the transcendental subject is the rejection of the Cartesian opposition of the subject and object as two independent substances. For Hegel, the subject and the object are identical. The world process is a process of self-development (or, which is absolutely the same for Hegel, self-knowledge) of the Absolute Spirit, which, being the only character of this process, appears as an absolute subject, having as its only object again itself.
An individual can be a subject only to the extent that he is attached to an absolute subject. In his individual development he must go through all the stages of the formation of the universal spirit. In other words, to become a real subject, a person must be formed beforehand He must must master the necessary array of past experience, otherwise he will never become a person in the true sense of the word, for it is precisely the "past being-the already acquired possession of the universal spirit ... constituting the substance of the individual."
† The further development of transcendentalism in the understanding of the subject is related to the phenomenological studies of Edmund Husserl . In general, sharing the transcendentalist installations of Kang, Husserl proposes to radically remove from the concept of the subject all individual psychological, natural-historical and sociocultural aspects. In the phenomenological philosophy of Husserl, subjectivity itself acquires a being-being significance, therefore it is proposed to be considered as a phenomenon, i.e. scrupulously explore the variety of ways of its immediate given. In the course of such a study, the essence of the "pure consciousness" is revealed; - the transcendental "Ego", which underlies all thought acts.
This transcendental "Ego" should not be understood in the sense of a certain supra-individual essence preceding any individual consciousness (Nikolai Kuzansky) or absorbing it in its absolute universality (Hegel). It is revealed through transcendental reflection in the individual consciousness as the deep basis of all its intentional acts. The transcendental "Ego" of Husserl's phenomenology is not "pre-I" or "super-I", but rather some > "right-I", for which there is no predefined world of objects, nor "Supreme Subject". Husserl's concept of the transcendental "Ego" paradoxically opens the way to consideration of subjectivity as rooted directly in the "living world" human existence, centered around the individual empirical "I". Seeking to radically remove from the theory of knowledge the last remnants of psychology and relativism, Husserl suggests completely reducing the existence of consciousness to its essence.
† Husserl's apprentice Martin Heidegger , on the contrary, concentrates attention precisely on the existence, being of consciousness. He introduces such "existential motives" into the center of research, as care, abandonment, death, etc., again reviving the very moments of psychology and relativism that his teacher sought to get rid of. Heidegger uses Husserl's phenomenological method, but not to get to the deepest structures of "pure consciousness", but in order to derive the "living truth" direct being (Dasein). His concept of subjectivity does not presuppose, independently of the consciousness of the existing object, or of the a priori forms of the subject's self-activity: both are formed directly at the moment of the realization of the act of being, which is simultaneously cognitive. Consciousness does not coincide with the psyche or with the subjective world, taken in any kind of positive content. Initially, the subject is given to himself as "pure nothing", different from the world of material objects, and from biological, physiological, psychological and other "objective" processes occurring within the human body, but not within the consciousness, which is initially devoid of any kind of mental content.
Being devoid of inner essence and depth, consciousness, taken in itself, is nothing, has no basis and therefore can not serve as a basis for anything. However, a real empirical person tends to become something specific, "rooting" itself in being. This desire is expressed in the attempts of consciousness or to find support in the external world, or to create such support within itself, in order to impart to itself a density, substantiality, self-confidence. The idea of the subject expresses the refusal of consciousness from its original uncertainty. A subject is a consciousness that is no longer "nothing," but something else, because it has lost the freedom to become anything and has become something specific. But if in their initial state different consciousnesses differ from each other only potentially, as centers of realization of freedom, subjects differ from each other already and is actual (at least by the amount of experience). Hence the desire to unify subjectivity arises by excluding from it all individualizing moments and constituting the image of an abstract impersonal transcendental subject.
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