The Framework of Subjectivity as Object of Consciousness in the Question of Personal Duties and Rights


Do Kien Trung, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Bui Van Mua, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Published: June 26, 2019

Citation: Trung, D. K., & Mua, V. M. (2019). The Framework of Subjectivity as Object of Consciousness in the Question of Personal Duties and Rights. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 6(1).


Philosophy, in general terms, perceives the human being as both the subject and the object of cognitive processes. As subject, acknowledging the existence of subjectivity is a prerequisite for establishing a conceptual framework, a sort of pragmatic guide to the perceived phenomena we conceptualize as “reality”. The requisite first step is the recognition of the human being as an entity with a capacity for perceiving and analyzing external physical phenomena. As the object of this cognitive process, philosophers also acknowledge the existence of an autonomous, separate nature in human beings. A normative system of structures and categories serves to describe the process of perception, rendered as a current that flows from within only to return as a frame of reference for the internal morphology of the self. So, from a critical standpoint, only subjectivity can provide diagnostic potential to the theoretical framework that allows us to describe reality. Consequently, the quest to answer the question of human nature and its station within reality can only be embarked upon subjectively. The ensuing inquiry, then, needs to revolve around whether the self has an inherent, autonomous nature, independent of its material environment. Can such a thing as an autonomous self even exist? Such a discussion marshals the issue inevitably towards a debate on praxis: has the binary formed by the exclusionary terms “nature” (the external world) and “subjectivity” (the internal world of the thinking being) been the only available tool to describe the one reality that conflates both concepts, that of the self? Has the codicillary nature of language frustrated our efforts in this regard? The long and arduous struggle with this complex issue bespeaks the effort to align its multifaceted components in order to attempt a pragmatic interpretation of the self and its existence. This article will focus on that effort.


the self, self-consciousness, Richard Rorty, duty, rights, language