Consciousness, Meaning and Nature

  • Ramesh Chandra Pradhan


This chapter extends the transcendental or non-naturalist argument further to show that consciousness itself, which is central to the structure of the mind, is the transcendental source of meaning. Meanings are placed in the realm of consciousness because the latter constitute the meanings as has been pointed out by the transcendental phenomenologist like Husserl.

Recently Owen Flanagan has shown that meanings themselves constitute multiple spaces within the space of meanings. From science to spirituality, there is a whole range of meanings which are constituted within consciousness. He argues that there is a really hard problem about how there can be meaning in a material world.

If we take the standpoint of the radical naturalist, Flanagan argues, we can never explain meaning in a material world because it is already disenchanted by the scientific laws. Meanings are myths for a radical naturalist because everything is causally explainable. Flanagan therefore takes the standpoint of the soft naturalist to make room for meanings in the natural world.

However, it can be shown that meanings demand a transcendentally autonomous space for themselves because in the absence of such a space they are constantly under threat from naturalism.


Space of meaning Material world Disenchantment Consciousness First person Nature 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramesh Chandra Pradhan
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Advanced StudyShimlaIndia

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