Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Notes on Aida (6)

Following von Weizsäcker’s view, Kimura finds the ground condition of subjectivity in the activities of living organisms in its relation with the environment; He sees the origin of the mind in life. But this notion of subjectivity does not necessarily presuppose the “self” or “self-consciousness”. How does the biological subjectivity bring forth the “self”? He explains,

The notion of “self” comes into existence only when the noetic subject distinguishes itself from the “other”-as-“non-self” in the noematic aspect of consciousness and establishes its self-belongingness.
[Kimura, B. (2005). Aida. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, p.108 (translation by ST)]

To prevent a possible misunderstanding, it is better to add that the “self” which Kimura explains in this passage is the explicit self-consciousness. When a living organism keeps its subjectivity being related with surrounding environment, the implicit self or pre-reflective self already exists there (just consider a case when we are walking without any deliberation). Kimura himself does not distinguish the implicit self from the explicit one, therefore he writes as if we could equate Weizsäcker’s notion of subjectivity with the state of “no-self”.

In any case, from the perspective of “aida”, the place between the environment and the living organism is what makes possible the subjectivity (implicit self) of every living organism. And both the “self” (explicit self) and the “other” simultaneously come into existence when occurs the difference between the self and the other subject.

So, there are two types of aida. The first one is a gap that is opened up in the nature between each living organism and the surrounding environment. And the second one is a gap between the self and the other, which has a social meaning. As I chose the word “gap”, Kimura stresses the difference between the self and the other, rather than the similarity or familiarity.