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The transcendental dimension of consciousness in Merab Mamardashvili’s philosophy

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In this article I analyze several of Merab Mamardashvili’s ideas about the «invisible» and «unknowable» nature of consciousness, as conveyed by the term «non-objectifying». The main points at issue here are: (1) the idea of the fundamental non-objective nature of consciousness, and (2) the impossibility of constructing a naturalist ontology that would take the experience of consciousness into account. The term non-objectiveness assumes not only the non-physicality of consciousness, but also the logical impossibility of positively and affirmatively apprehending consciousness in terms of standard subject-object determinations. Consciousness is not an object; moreover, consciousness cannot “appear”, though it allows things and the world to appear. In the article, I show how Mamardashvili dedicated a significant amount of his philosophical work to conveying this intuition. This intuition, in turn, is predicated on the fact that the paradoxical nature of consciousness can be considered in terms of the idea of “transcendentality”. With this in mind, I offer an interpretation of the concept of the transcendental, predicated on a justification in which I apply the concept to consciousness. I also show how Mamardashvili’s philosophical method can be viewed as a special form of transcendentalism, in which Mamardashvili elaborated an authorial stance that was both unique to his philosophical outlook and which he combined with the traditional ideas of this philosophical position.

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  1. Every transcendental proposition, however, proceeds solely from one concept, and states the synthetic condition of the possibility of the object in accordance with this concept.


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Correspondence to Diana Gasparyan.

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The work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation under Grant 19-18-00100.

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Gasparyan, D. The transcendental dimension of consciousness in Merab Mamardashvili’s philosophy. Stud East Eur Thought 71, 241–258 (2019).

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