William James and Kitaro Nishida on “Pure Experience”, Consciousness, and Moral Psychology

Dissertation, Purdue University (2007)
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The question “What is the nature of experience?” is of perennial philosophical concern. It deals not only with the nature of experience qua experience, but additionally with related questions about the experiencing subject and that which is experienced. In other words, to speak of the philosophical problem of experience, one must also address questions about mind, world, and the various relations that link them together. Both William James and Kitarō Nishida were deeply concerned with these issues. Their shared notion of “pure experience” is the conceptual cornerstone of their attempt to deal with the philosophical problem of experience. This dissertation is an analysis of “pure experience” and its relevance to several issues in contemporary hilosophy of mind. Drawing upon James’s and Nishida’s “pure experience”, I argue both for a sensorimotor-based, “extended” conception of consciousness and a bodily skills-based account of moral psychology.

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Joel Krueger
University of Exeter


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