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By A. Schinkel

Sense of right and wrong, conscientious, objections, anders, shinkel

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I realize, of course, that language is not a neutral and transparent vehicle for thoughts that are otherwise independent from it. But there is something beyond language. When I yell because I hit my thumb instead of the nail, the yell does not constitute the pain. Rather, it expresses it. 59 A yell of pain is in that sense continuous with the pain. The situation is more complicated when it comes to words, but the structure is basically similar. Reality extends into us, and what is important in us seeks expression through words and other means.

The chapter ends with a discussion of two imaginative (sub)symbols of conscience: the ‘worm of conscience’, and the ‘voice of conscience’. Chapters 2 to 6 all have ‘Between symbol and doctrine’ as the first part of their title. In these chapters I present my perspective on the history of expressions of and thought about conscience from Ancient Greece to the nineteenth century of Bentham, Darwin, and Freud. The main concern of these chapters is with the gradual transition from a symbolic to an indicative understanding of conscience, and the loss of meaning that results from that.

We could rephrase this in a way that connects it to one of Whitehead’s remarks and say that “the subject emerges from the world, which it then intends as its object”. , 356. , 356-357. , 357. 52 Idem. , 361. 54 By these two languages, to be sure, I do not mean two separate languages, but two ways of using language – they use the same vocabulary and the same grammar. 48 45 by which reality becomes luminous to itself; they are the articulation of consciousness as luminosity. 55 The difference between the two may be elucidated by means of a metaphor: while symbols, engendered by the experiences of a subject that, in Whitehead’s words, ‘emerges from the world’, are illuminated from within, concepts (and other forms of indicative language) are the flashlights used by a subject to light up particular objects in the external world.

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