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The Thisness of Reference

#1
Magical Realist Offline
For the longest time I have tried to come up with a general term or property for anything that we can be conscious of. Basically anything whatsoever that is the content of our consciousness as opposed to whatever is not that content. After some time, I think I have come up with it. Thisness. In medieval philosophy called hacciety. But what do we mean when we say "this" whatever. And is it an actual property of objects themselves?

I take thisness to mean in its broadest sense to be whatever can be directly referred to by language. THIS apt. THIS feeling. THIS life. THIS moment. THIS idea. "This" is the property of being directly and immediately referrable to by language. It is in fact the essence of consciousness, being the presence of our speaking/thinking awareness to any given noun/idea. But it isn't really anything more than the power of language to refer to or make present.

Now some have attempted to reify thisness (hacceity) as a non-qualitative property of referred to objects themselves-- some undefined essence that makes the object itself and no other object. But thisness is more than this, for I can pick up a penny from a jarful of pennies and call it "this penny" without meaning it is individual in any sense. Rather it is the act of reference or "pointing to" that confers thisness on the penny. Abstracted from language it may seem to be an objective property. But it is always in the speaking/thinking act itself that there arises thisness. So it is the power of language to make present and immediate, to transcend itself and objectify itself into an object beyond a mere representing word or thought.

Here's a nice slightly different take on it I found on the Quora blog:
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"There is nothing outside of direct experience. There is nothing outside of thisness. Understanding is not thisness. This is thisness. Before “my understanding”. Before a notion of “me”. You awaken in the morning and there is consciousness and for a split second there is no identifying me.. Its delicious isn't it, no sense of this heavy old me has come in on the goodness of consciousness."
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#2
C C Offline
In terms of original function, "this" is an external relationship between two or more parties. There's the individual making a perceptual distinction, who then communicates slash points it out to other cognitive agents: "this hat". The apparent properties would be the "thisness" of a particular entity as it exists outside itself to information receivers and processors (i.e., a representation falling out of extrinsic relationships).

But while language was invented to communicate with others (public connections and transmission), language had the secondary consequence of allowing a human to carry on private narratives -- to think with the symbolic system. So the internal POV of a person can "observe" introspective events no one else has access to (imaginations) and ironically use the pronoun "this" to reference an immediate item in those occurrences -- as if they are separate or don't both inhabit the same cognitive apparatus.

But in that introspective environment the phenomenal properties (colors, auditory qualities, etc) of an _X_ arguably are what they are to themselves. The use of "thisness" can address that, even though it's a language part of the brain interpreting the private manifestations as if they are something external. For example, if one "sees" and "talks" with Napoleon in a dream, that superficial facade is all there is to that Napoleon.

That realization in turn results in apprehending that those subjective varieties of "thisness" (qualia) are being used to paint the representations of the external world (whereby things are depicted as existing outside themselves rather than in themselves). As Kant ventured, even the shapes might be an add-on, space a mapping coordinate system for empirically discriminating items and components from each other. As opposed to an intellectual or computational method that accomplishes that separating and integrating relationships without representing _X_ as the uniquely located structures of spatial "showings" and sensations.

Dreamless comas or non-conscious states indicate that matter normally lacks any phenomenal activity. I.e., after one dies, there is not even a presentation of blankness. Qualia, space, and time (changes) are gone -- are not how objective substances or affairs exist. The universe does not partake in panpsychism or "cosmopsychism".

But the other explanation for that is that the lack of a memory-based system thereby eradicates the ability to verify that are phenomenal manifestations in non-conscious matter. No cognitive apparatus is available to identify and understand such events, so it equates to the same as nothingness or "not even a presentation of nothingness" -- despite qualitative happenings being the case (in that alternative scenario).
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