Nonconceptual Self-Consciousness and Cognitive Science

Synthese 129 (1):129 - 149 (2001)
This paper explores some of the areas where neuroscientific and philosophical issues intersect in the study of self-consciousness. Taking as point of departure a paradox (the paradox of self-consciousness) that appears to block philosophical elucidation of self-consciousness, the paper illustrates how the highly conceptual forms of self-consciousness emerge from a rich foundation of nonconceptual forms of self-awareness. Attention is paid in particular to the primitive forms of nonconceptual self-consciousness manifested in visual perception, somatic proprioception, spatial reasoning and interpersonal psychological interactions. The study of these primitive forms of self-consciousness is an interdisciplinary enterprise and the paper considers a range of points of contact where philosophical work can illuminate work in the cognitive sciences, and vice versa.
Keywords Cognitive Science  Conceptualism  Metaphysics  Self-awareness  Self-consciousness
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