David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Manfred Frank has in recent publications criticized a number of prevailing views concerning the nature of self-awareness,1 and it is the so-called reflection theory of self-awareness which has been particularly under fire. That is, the theory which claims that self-awareness only comes about when consciousness directs its 'gaze' at itself, thereby taking itself as its own object. But in his elaboration of a position originally developed by Dieter Henrich (and, to a lesser extent, by Cramer and Pothast) Frank has also more generally criticized every attempt to conceive original self-awareness as a relation, be it a relation between two acts or a relation between the act and itself.2 Every relation entails a distinction between two (or more) relata and, according to Frank, it would be impossible to account for the immediacy and infallibility of selfawareness (particularly its so-called immunity to the error of misidentification), if it were in any way a mediated process. Thus, self-awareness cannot come about as the result of a self-identification, a reflection, an inner vision or introspection, nor should it be conceived as a type of intentionality or as a conceptually mediated propositional attitude, all of which entails the distinction between two or more relata. The pre-reflective self-awareness of an experience is not mediated by foreign elements such as concepts and classificatory criteria, nor by any internal difference or distance. It is an immediate and direct self- acquaintance which is characterized by being completely and absolutely irrelational (and consequently best described as a purely immanent self-presence).3 Frank's approach is unusually broad, since he draws on the resources of several different philosophical traditions, including German Idealism, analytical philosophy of mind, and phenomenology. When it comes to the latter, it is particularly in Sartre that Frank has found important insights, whereas he has criticized Husserl's position persistently in most of his writings on self-awareness..
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Jeremy H. Smith (2006). Michel Henry's Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience and Husserlian Intentionality. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (2):191 – 219.
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