Does 'Consciousness' Exist? - Part Two

June 13th, 2018 · 1 hr 1 min

About this Episode

JF and Phil finally get down to brass tacks with William James's essay "Does Consciousness Exist?" At the heart of this essay is the concept of what James calls "pure experience," the basic stuff of everything, only it isn't a stuff, but an irreducible multiplicity of everything that exists -- thoughts as well as things. We're used to thinking that thoughts and things belong to fundamentally different orders of being, but what if thoughts are things, too? For one thing, psychical phenomena (a great interest of James's) suddenly become a good deal more plausible. And the imaginal realm, where art and magic make their home, becomes a sovereign domain.

REFERENCES

William James, "Does 'Consciousness' Exist?"
Steven Shaviro, The Universe of Things
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego
William James, Essays in Psychical Research
Weird Studies D&D episode
Proust, À la Recherche du Temps Perdu
The Venera 13 probe's photos of the surface of Venus
Wallace Stevens, "A Postcard from the Volcano"