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What is subject?

We explain to you what is subject and how this term was transformed throughout history. In addition, what are its different meanings.

  1. What is subject?

The concept of the subject comes from the Latin ” subiectus “, which refers next to ” what underlies “ the action taken. It is usually used in the event that the particular name of the person referred to is not known, is used in a generic way, or in the case that you do not want to declare who is the person who carries out the action .

It can be used as an adjective by reference to which it is exposed or likely , for example , in the sentence ” The file would be subject to review “. In the grammatical aspect, the “subject” is the constituent part of the sentence that has a nominal function, it designates the objects, beings, people that it carries out, or is related to the action expressed by the verb.

In philosophy it is considered that the subject is a “thinking” subject with respect to the situation in which it is found , this is in opposition to the outside world that belongs to it. In this way the subject is in a position to perceive and distinguish reality in an objective, external way, beyond their subjective knowledge . The subject from this point of view is the conscious human being who takes charge of his actions by his own choice or will and who takes knowledge of reality as an object.

The conception of the “subject” was progressing and transforming through the history of Western thought . The philosopher Rene Descartes in the seventeenth century, father of modern philosophy and therefore of the conception of the modern influence subject that comes to this day, conceived the subject as a being based on its rationality, responsible for making decisions based on their expectations and rational calculations

Hence, the importance of the Cartesian subject is that reason is the quintessential form by which the relationship between the subject and object of knowledge is understood. The “cogito” is the subject of rational science that understands that reason is a link to reach the truth about the outside world.

After modernity, and after the first and second world war , the concept of “subject” was transformed due to widespread pessimism resulting from the consequences of war and the state of social devastation.

The concept was transformed, it was no longer linked to the positive aspects of rational action , but to the critical view influenced by the pessimism of the time. The irrationality of war produced uncertainty and the collapse of absolute truths and beliefs in evolution based on positivist rational progress.

The way of understanding the subject transmuted towards a conception and postures that see the contemporary subject shocked in front of a devastating panorama , already without stable beliefs, of pessimistic attitude towards a destroyed world, and in the midst of vertiginous and violent processes of social change.

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