David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In , Exploring the Self: Philosophical and Psychopathological Perspectives on Self-Experience. John Benjamins. 55--74 (2000)
In his recent book ‘Kant and the Mind’ Andrew Brook makes a distinction between two types of selfawareness. The first type, which he calls empirical self-awareness, is an awareness of particular psychological states such as perceptions, memories, desires, bodily sensations etc. One attains this type of self-awareness simply by having particular experiences and being aware of them. To be in possession of empirical self-awareness is, in short, simply to be conscious of one’s occurrent experience. The second type of self-awareness he calls apperceptive self-awareness. This type of self-awareness entails an awareness of oneself as the subject of experience. For this type of self-awareness to obtain, it would not be enough merely to be conscious of, say, an occurrent perception of a chair, one would also have to be aware that it was oneself who was perceiving the chair. And as Brook adds, when I am self-aware in this way, I am not only aware of being the subject of a single experience, but also aware of myself as the common subject of other psychological states (Brook, 1994: 55-57). I find Brook’s distinction illuminating, but it raises a question which I would like to pursue in this paper. When we speak of self-awareness, do we then necessarily also speak of a self, is there so to speak always a self involved in self-awareness, or is it rather the case, as Brook’s notion of empirical selfawareness might suggest, that there are types of self-awareness which are ‘selfless’, or to use two other related terms ‘subjectless’ or ‘non-egological’? Is self-awareness always to be understood as an awareness of a self, or can it be understood simply as the awareness which a specific experience has of itself? Ultimately, I believe an answer to these questions are important, both when it comes to an understanding of what exactly self-awareness amounts to, and also when it comes to a proper understanding of what a self is..
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