About this topic
Summary Is the self an intentional object of experience when we are self-conscious? Put differently, is self-consciousness to be construed along the lines of perceiving (or quasi-perceiving) the self? Following Hume, many philosophers have denied that introspection provides us with awareness of the self in a way similar to our awareness of objects in the world. They claim that the experiences based upon which we form 'I'-thoughts do not represent the self. On the other hand, many philosophers also hold that a minimal form of self-awareness is a pervasive structural feature of all conscious experience, which raises the question as to how we should think about such a minimal form of self-awareness. Moreover, according to a Kantian line of thought, in order to experience the world as being objectively structured and mind-independent, one has to be self-conscious.
Key works Hume 1739/2000 famously denied that we can be directly aware of the self through introspection. Moreover, Fichte 1970 and, more recently, Shoemaker 1968 have argued that thinking of self-consciousness as a form of self-perception leads into a regress. Self-consciousness isn't a form of object-awareness, rather we are aware of the self 'as subject' (Wittgenstein 1958). In response, phenomenologists such as Sartre, Husserl or Merleau-Ponty, and, more recently Zahavi 2005, as well as some writers in the tradition of German Idealism, such as Frank 2007 have argued that conscious experience is always characterized by a minimal or pre-reflective sense of self.
Introductions Bermúdez 2009 gives a brief introduction to and overview of relevant issues. Gallagher & Zahavi 2008 give an overview of phenomenological approaches to the self in experience.
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  1. Towards a Theory of Proprioception as a Bodily Basis for Consciousness in Music.Alicia Peñalba Acitores - 2011 - In David Clarke & Eric F. Clarke (eds.), Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
  2. Sartre on Pre-Reflective Consciousness.M. M. Agrawal - 1988 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research (September-December) 121 (September-December):121-127.
  3. Mental Activity & the Sense of Ownership.Adrian Alsmith - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):881-896.
    I introduce and defend the notion of a cognitive account of the sense of ownership. A cognitive account of the sense of ownership holds that one experiences something as one's own only if one thinks of something as one's own. By contrast, a phenomenal account of the sense of ownership holds that one can experience something as one's own without thinking about anything as one's own. I argue that we have no reason to favour phenomenal accounts over cognitive accounts, that (...)
  4. C. Thomas Powell., Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness. [REVIEW]Karl Ameriks - 1994 - International Studies in Philosophy 26 (2):143-144.
  5. The Roots of Self-Awareness.Michael L. Anderson & Donald R. Perlis - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):297-333.
    In this paper we provide an account of the structural underpinnings of self-awareness. We offer both an abstract, logical account.
  6. The Thought of a Principle: Rödl’s Fichteanism.Bruno G. Anthony - forthcoming - In Marina Bykova (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Fichte. Bloomsbury.
    Sebastian Rödl portrays much of his work as attempts at articulating a German idealist view of self-consciousness. Although he rarely engages directly with German idealist texts, his accounts of first-person and second-person knowledge arrive at strikingly Fichtean theses regarding the necessary identity of subject and object in the former and the necessary reciprocity of subject and other in the latter. Despite this affinity, I argue, Rödl's accounts lack a feature that is essential to Fichte's and, indeed, to German idealism's distinctive (...)
  7. Transformations in Consciousness: Continuity, the Self and Marginal Consciousness.P. Sven Arvidson - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (3):3-26.
    The term ‘consciousness’ is usually reserved only for the focus of attention. This restriction empties the phenomenology of consciousness of some of its richness. Rather than conceiving of consciousness as one-dimensional, researchers should consider that consciousness has a three-dimensional organization. Conscious presentations are structured in a focus, context and margin pattern. Inclusion of these other dimensions of consciousness as consciousness is important for an adequate relation between scientific method and phenomenology. The problem becomes especially acute when transformations in consciousness -- (...)
  8. The Paradox of Self-Consciousness.S. Ashford - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2):298 – 300.
    Book Information The Paradox of Self-Consciousness. By José Luis Bermúdez. Bradford/MIT. Cambridge, MA. 1998. Pp. xv + 338. $US30.00.
  9. Philosophical Implications of Affective Neuroscience.Stephen Asma, Jaak Panksepp, Rami Gabriel & Glennon Curran - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (3-4):6-48.
    These papers are based on a Symposium at the COGSCI Conference in 2010. 1. Naturalizing the Mammalian Mind 2. Modularity in Cognitive Psychology and Affective Neuroscience 3. Affective Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Self 4. Affective Neuroscience and Law.
  10. Brain, Conscious Experience, and the Observing Self.Bernard J. Baars, Thomas Zoega Ramsoy & Steven Laureys - 2003 - Trends in Neurosciences 26 (12):671-5.
    Conscious perception, like the sight of a coffee cup, seems to involve the brain identifying a stimulus. But conscious input activates more brain regions than are needed to identify coffee cups and faces. It spreads beyond sensory cortex to frontoparietal association areas, which do not serve stimulus identification as such. What is the role of those regions? Parietal cortex support the ‘first person perspective’ on the visual world, unconsciously framing the visual object stream. Some prefrontal areas select and interpret conscious (...)
  11. A Dilemma for Neo-Expressivism—And How to Resolve It.Stina Bäckström - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (2):191-205.
    In this paper, I present a dilemma for neo-expressivist accounts of self-consciousness. Such accounts are united by the idea that we can elucidate self-consciousness by appreciating the thought that some self-ascriptions both function as expressions and are truth-evaluable statements. The dilemma, I argue, is that the neo-expressivists either have to accept a circular element into their accounts or else the accounts lose their appeal. I recommend embracing circularity and argue that this is a case where circularity—far from being a failure—is (...)
  12. Expression and Self-Consciousness.Stina Bäckström - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (1):163-182.
    This article argues that nonverbal spontaneous expressions of mental states in human beings involve self-consciousness. We—language-using rational creatures—are capable of knowing our smiles, winces, and frustrated frowns in a self-conscious way. This distinguishes expressions from mere reflexes and mere physiological responses. Such a capacity is, further, essential to such forms of behavior. This is shown by the difficulty of constructing a coherent scenario where we—keeping our rational and conceptual capacities otherwise intact—can nonverbally express our mental states but where we lack (...)
  13. Resting State Glutamate Predicts Elevated Pre-Stimulus Alpha During Self-Relatedness: A Combined EEG-MRS Study on 'Rest-Self' Overlap.Yu Bai, Timothy Lane, Georg Northoff & et al - 2015 - Social Neuroscience:DOI:10.1080/17470919.2015.107258.
    Recent studies have demonstrated neural overlap between resting state activity and self-referential processing. This “rest-self” overlap occurs especially in anterior cortical midline structures like the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (PACC). However, the exact neurotemporal and biochemical mechanisms remain to be identified. Therefore, we conducted a combined electroencephalography (EEG)-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) study. EEG focused on pre-stimulus (e.g., prior to stimulus presentation or perception) power changes to assess the degree to which those changes can predict subjects’ perception (and judgment) of subsequent (...)
  14. Consciousness and the Embodied Self.Andrew R. Bailey - unknown
    This paper deals with the relationship between the embodied cognition paradigm and two sets of its implications: its implications for the ontology of selves, and its implications for the nature and extent of phenomenal consciousness. There has been a recent wave of interest within cognitive science in the paradigm variously called ‘embodied,’ ‘extended,’ ‘situated’ or ‘distributed’ cognition. Although ideas applied in the embodied cognition research program can be traced back to the work of Heidegger, Piaget, Vygotsky, Merleau-Ponty, and Dewey, the (...)
  15. From Consciousness to Self-Consciousness.L. R. Baker - 2013 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 84:19--38.
  16. How to Have Self-Directed Attitudes.Lynne Rudder Baker - unknown
    Self-directed and self-evaluative attitudes are often connected to one’s social position. Before investigating the dependence relations between individual self-evaluation and social positioning, however, there is a prior question to answer: What are the conditions under which an individual can have any self-directed attitudes at all? In order to be the subject of self-directed or selfevaluative attitudes, I shall argue, an individual must have linguistic and social relations. I’ll discuss the first-person perspective, self-concepts and their acquisition—all from a radically nonCartesian, externalist (...)
  17. Making Sense of Ourselves: Self-Narratives and Personal Identity.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (1):7-15.
    Some philosophers take personal identity to be a matter of self-narrative. I argue, to the contrary, that self-narrative views cannot stand alone as views of personal identity. First, I consider Dennett’s self-narrative view, according to which selves are fictional characters—abstractions, like centers of gravity—generated by brains. Neural activity is to be interpreted from the intentional stance as producing a story. I argue that this is implausible. The inadequacy is masked by Dennett’s ambiguous use of ‘us’: sometimes ‘us’ refers to real (...)
  18. From Consciousness to Self-Consciousness.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 84 (1):19-38.
  19. The Difference That Self-Consciousness Makes.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2003 - In Klaus Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons: Metaphysical Research, Volume 1. Heusenstamm Nr Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.
    With all the attention given to the study of consciousness recently, the topic of self-consciousness has been relatively neglected. “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-conscious that has seemed such a scientific mystery,” a prominent philosopher comments.1 Phenomenal consciousness concerns the aspect of a state that feels a certain way: roses smell like this; garlic tastes like that; middle C sounds like this, and so on. Although phenomenal consciousness is surely a fruitful area of scientific investigation, I hope to (...)
  20. Reading Merleau-Ponty: On Phenomenology of Perception.Thomas Baldwin (ed.) - 2007 - Routledge.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty's _Phenomenology of Perception_ is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy of the twentieth century. In this volume, leading philosophers from Europe and North America examine the nature and extent of Merleau-Ponty's achievement and consider its importance to contemporary philosophy. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, cover the central aspects of Merleau-Ponty's influential work. These include: Merleau-Ponty’s debt to Husserl Merleau-Ponty’s conception of philosophy perception, action and the role (...)
  21. The Other Voice: An Introduction to the Phenomenology of Metamorphosis.Husain Jameel Bargouti - 1992 - Dissertation, University of Washington
    Human history is in a process of flux as is the rest of nature; creativity appears here as a "self-conscious" purposeful activity, and this characteristic differentiates the transformations of "self" from other "natural" processes. The "self" is linguistically determined, thus there is no "self-consciousness" without language. Hence self-transformation is directly determined by the systems of linguistic categories. If one believes in religion, one's vision of oneself and the world is "religious"; however if one believes in Marx's totality of categories, one (...)
  22. Harald Delius: Self-Awareness: A Semantical Inquiry. [REVIEW]Smith Barry - 1985 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46:170–173.
    The thesis of Delius's book is that statements of self-awareness such as "I am aware that I see a cat" possess what he calls 'Cartesian characteristics' of indubitability or absolute self-evidence. He argues that this is the case in virtue of the fact that such statements are not about anything independent of themselves. The book is described as a 'semantical inquiry', but it is not by any means a contribution to the philosophy of language of the predictable sort. Statements of (...)
  23. Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Sensory Deprivation.Edward T. Bartlett - 1987 - Philosophy Research Archives 13:489-497.
    Elizabeth Anscombe and Anthony Kenny disagree on whether or not it is possible to doubt the existence of one’s own body. Anscombe believes that such doubt makes sense while Kenny argues that it could make sense only if one supposed that he had become a bodyless Cartesian ego. To resolve the issue I explore the knowledge one acquires of himself, and thus the manner in which such knowledge might be weakened into doubt. Siding with Anscombe, I argue that under the (...)
  24. Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Sensory Deprivation.Edward T. Bartlett - 1987 - Philosophy Research Archives 13:489-497.
    Elizabeth Anscombe and Anthony Kenny disagree on whether or not it is possible to doubt the existence of one’s own body. Anscombe believes that such doubt makes sense while Kenny argues that it could make sense only if one supposed that he had become a bodyless Cartesian ego. To resolve the issue I explore the knowledge one acquires of himself, and thus the manner in which such knowledge might be weakened into doubt. Siding with Anscombe, I argue that under the (...)
  25. The Subjectlessness of Self-Consciousness.Edward T. Bartlett - 1983 - Philosophy Research Archives 9:675-682.
    On the surface the concept of self-consciousness would seem to be understandable as consciousness of oneself. It is commonplace to resist this temptation by arguing that the self cannot properly be construed as the object of this form of consciousness. It is the subject. However, in this paper I show that any effort to see the self as the subject of consciousness converts it, willy nilly, into an object.Self-consciousness is not to be understood by determining the logically appropriate role of (...)
  26. The Subjectlessness of Self-Consciousness.Edward T. Bartlett - 1983 - Philosophy Research Archives 9:675-682.
    On the surface the concept of self-consciousness would seem to be understandable as consciousness of oneself. It is commonplace to resist this temptation by arguing that the self cannot properly be construed as the object of this form of consciousness. It is the subject. However, in this paper I show that any effort to see the self as the subject of consciousness converts it, willy nilly, into an object.Self-consciousness is not to be understood by determining the logically appropriate role of (...)
  27. Self-Consciousness and the Unity of Consciousness.Bayne Tim - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):219-236.
    Consciousness has a number of puzzling features. One such feature is its unity: the experiences that one has at a particular time seem to occur together in a certain way. I am currently enjoying visual experiences of my computer screen, auditory experiences of birdsong, olfactory experiences of coffee, and tactile experiences of feeling the ground beneath my feet. Conjoined with these perceptual experiences are proprioceptive experiences, experiences of agency, affective and emotional experiences, and conscious thoughts of various kinds. A striking (...)
  28. Self-Consciousness and the Unity of Consciousness.Timothy J. Bayne - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):219-236.
    Consciousness has a number of puzzling features. One such feature is its unity: the experiences and other conscious states that one has at a particular time seem to occur together in a certain way. I am currently enjoying visual experiences of my computer screen, auditory experiences of bird-song, olfactory experiences of coffee, and tactile experiences of feeling the ground beneath my feet. Conjoined with these perceptual experiences are proprioceptive experiences, experiences of agency, affective and emotional experiences, and conscious thoughts of (...)
  29. From Kant to Hegel—Johann Gottlieb Fichte's Theory of Self-Consciousness.Gunnar Beck - 1996 - History of European Ideas 22 (4):275-294.
    This article emphasizes Fichte's role as a central figure in the period of transition from Kantian moral universalism to Hegelian ontological collectivism and _Sittlichkeitsethik. Echoing Rousseau's insights into the sociological determinants of human consciousness and drawing on Herder's more comprehensive theory of the linguistic and cultural conditions of all human thought, Fichte, in his writings from 1796 onward, develops a radical reformulation and extension of Kant's theory of reason and self-consciousness. Fichte's theory of the origins and nature of consciousness and (...)
  30. Sobre símbolos, experiencias intelectuales y la deconstrucción de la subjetividad moderna.Juan José Padial Benticuaga - 2008 - Studia Poliana 10:107-118.
    This paper focuses on the decryption of both a symbol and an intellectual experience . It also follows the methodology of not pulling the ladder . Symbols are always enigmatic knowledges. They canot be decrypted exhaustively and, as such, to discover or to propose a symbol, its interpretation, and finally its decryption are always dense endeavors . This paper wants to note the relationship between contemporary symbolic anthropologies with the later epistemology Polo has elaborated. This epistemological proposal of Polo concerns (...)
  31. Self-Consciousness.José Luis Bermúdez - 2009 - In Bayne Tim, Cleeremans Axel & Wilken Patrick (eds.), The Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
  32. Self-Consciousness.Jose Luis Bermudez - 2007 - In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.
  33. The Sources of Self-Consciousness.Jose Luis Bermudez - 2001 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 102 (1):87-107.
    This paper explores the relation between two ways of thinking about the sources of self-consciousness. We can think about the sources of self-consciousness either in genetic terms (as the origins or precursors of self-conscious thoughts) or in epistemic terms (as the grounds of self-conscious judgements). Using Christopher Peacocke's account of self-conscious judgements in Being Known as a foil, this paper brings out some important ways in which we need to draw upon the sources of self-consciousness in the genetic sense for (...)
  34. Nonconceptual Self-Awareness and the Paradox of Self-Consciousness.Jose Luis Bermudez - 2000 - In Albert Newen & Kai Vogeley (eds.), Selbst und Gehirn. Menschliches Selbstbewusstsein und seine Neurobiologischen Grundlagen. Mentis.
  35. Precis of The Paradox of Self-Consciousness.Jose Luis Bermudez - 1999 - Psycoloquy 10 (35).
  36. Reduction and the Self.José Luis Bermúdez - 1997 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (4-5):458-466.
    Galen Strawson's keynote paper offers us one way of modelling the self, one that starts from the phenomenology of the sense of self and derives from that metaphysical conclusions about the nature of the self. Strawson is surely correct to hold that phenomenological considerations cannot be ignored in thinking about the metaphysics of the self. I am not as convinced as he is, however, that phenomenology is the royal road to metaphysics. What I want to sketch out in this short (...)
  37. The Body and the Self.Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.) - 1995 - MIT Press.
  38. Fondazione del problema del pensare.Daniele Bertini - 2007 - Segni E Comprensione 21 (62):124-140.
    My main claim is that, in order to account for the nature of human mind, philosophy of mind should embody topics usually treated by disciplines as ethics or applied philosophy so as to enrich the pure notion of cognitive experience to the extent of treating the whole of human experience. I begin with considering the Cartesian approach to the "cogito". I argue for the claim that cartesian-like dualists (Descartes and Locke, Kant and Husserl) fail in treating the opposition of internalism (...)
  39. The Spirit and the Heap: Berkeley and Hume on the Self and Self-Consciousness.Talia Mae Bettcher - 1999 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
    This dissertation concerns an important dispute between George Berkeley and David Hume. The dispute involves Berkeley's defense of his conception of the self as a spirit, a purely active being which perceives ideas; and Hume's elimination of that conception via his own, according to which the self is merely a heap, a causally connected system of perceptions. At bottom, this difference in the way that the self is conceptualized is informed by a fundamental difference in philosophical starting-point. Berkeley seeks to (...)
  40. Consciousness and Reflective Consciousness.Mark H. Bickhard - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):205-218.
    An interactive process model of the nature of representation intrinsically accounts for multiple emergent properties of consciousness, such as being a contentful experiential flow, from a situated and embodied point of view. A crucial characteristic of this model is that content is an internally related property of interactive process, rather than an externally related property as in all other contemporary models. Externally related content requires an interpreter, yielding the familiar regress of interpreters, along with a host of additional fatal problems. (...)
  41. Structure in Human Consciousness: A Fractal Approach to the Topology of the Self Perceiving an Outer World in an Inner Space.Erhard Bieberich - manuscript
    In human consciousness a world of separated objects is perceived by an inner observer who is experienced as an undivided feeling of one-self. A topological correlation of the self to the world, however, entails a paradoxical situation by either merging all separated objects into one or splitting the self into as many subselves as there are objects perceived. This study introduces a model suggesting that the self is generated in a neural network by algorithmic compression of spatial and temporal information (...)
  42. Making Sense of the Cotard Syndrome: Insights From the Study of Depersonalisation.Alexandre Billon - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (3):356-391.
    Patients suffering from the Cotard syndrome can deny being alive, having guts, thinking or even existing. They can also complain that the world or time have ceased to exist. In this article, I argue that even though the leading neurocognitive accounts have difficulties meeting that task, we should, and we can, make sense of these bizarre delusions. To that effect, I draw on the close connection between the Cotard syndrome and a more common condition known as depersonalisation. Even though they (...)
  43. Why Are We Certain That We Exist?Alexandre Billon - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):723-759.
    Descartes was certain that he was thinking and he was accordingly certain that he existed. Like Descartes, we seem to be more certain of our thoughts and our existence than of anything else. What is less clear is the reason why we are thus certain. Philosophers throughout history have provided different interpretations of the cogito, disagreeing both on the kind of thoughts it characterizes and on the reasons for its cogency. According to what we may call the empiricist interpretation of (...)
  44. Does Consciousness Entail Subjectivity? The Puzzle of Thought Insertion.Alexandre Billon - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (2):291 - 314.
    (2013). Does consciousness entail subjectivity? The puzzle of thought insertion. Philosophical Psychology: Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 291-314. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2011.625117.
  45. Full-Body Illusions and Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.Olaf Blanke & Thomas Metzinger - 2009 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):7-13.
  46. Brentano or Husserl? Intentionality, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness in Contemporary Phenomenology of Mind.Federico Boccaccini - 2016 - Archivio Di Filosofia (3):189-202.
  47. Vrijheid En Identiteit.R. Breeur - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 62 (2):253 - 281.
    This article questions the origin of subjectivity and its identity in its relation to consciousness, since consciousness, in its essence, is not yet subjective. It is characterized by a self-presence that is so radical that it threatens every form of self-knowledge and selfconsciousness. We therefore want to point to a difference between self-knowledge of the subject and the way an act of consciousness is conscious of itself. Every act of consciousness is self-conscious and therefore consciousness is absolute. In the article (...)
  48. Consciousness and the Self.Roland Breeur - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):415-436.
    With his notion of absolute consciousness, Sartre tries to rethink the relation between consciousness and the self. What is the origin of subjectivity in relation to a consciousness that is characterized as impersonal and as a radical lucidity? In this article, I attempt to question that origin and the nature as such of the subject in its relation to a consciousness that in its essence is not yet subjective. On the contrary, it is characterized by a selfpresence that is so (...)
  49. Lessons From Sartre for the Analytic Philosophy of Mind.Manuel Bremer - 2005 - Analecta Husserliana 88:63-85.
    There are positive and negative lessons from Sartre: - Taking up some of his ideas one may arrive at a better model of consciousness in the analytic philosophy of mind; representing some of his ideas within the language and the models of a functionalist theory of mind makes them more accessible and inte¬grates them into the wider picture. - Sartre, as any philosopher, errs at some points, I believe; but these errors may be instruc¬tive, especially in as much as they (...)
  50. Bodily Awareness and the Self.Bill Brewer - 1995 - In Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.), The Body and the Self. Cambridge: Mass: Mit Press. pp. 291-€“303.
    In The Varieties of Reference (1982), Gareth Evans claims that considerations having to do with certain basic ways we have of gaining knowledge of our own physical states and properties provide "the most powerful antidote to a Cartesian conception of the self" (220). In this chapter, I start with a discussion and evaluation of Evans' own argument, which is, I think, in the end unconvincing. Then I raise the possibility of a more direct application of similar considerations in defence of (...)
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