On Subjectivity And A Visit To Kierkegaard’s Grave

Meghan O’Gieblyn at Bookforum:

The question of subjectivity had been very much on my mind that summer. A few months earlier I’d been commissioned by a magazine to review several new books on consciousness. All of the authors were men, and I was surprised by how often they acknowledged the deeply personal motivations that led them to their preferred theories of mind. Two of them, in a bizarre parallel, listed among these motivations the desire to leave their wives. The first was Out of My Head, by Tim Parks, a novelist who had become an advocate for spread mind theory—a minority position that holds that consciousness exists not solely in the brain but also in the object of perception. Parks claimed that he first became interested in this theory around the time he left his wife for a younger woman, a decision that his friends chalked up to a midlife crisis. He believed the problem was his marriage—something in the objective world—while everyone else insisted that the problem was inside his head. “It seems to me that these various life events,” he wrote, “might have predisposed me to be interested in a theory of consciousness and perception that tends to give credit to the senses, or rather to experience.”

more here.