Margins of Me: A Personal Story (Chapter 1 of The Peripheral Mind)

In István Aranyosi (ed.), The peripheral mind: philosophy of mind and the peripheral nervous system. New York, NY: Oxford University Press (2013)
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Abstract

The author presents an autobiographical story of serious peripheral motor nerve damage resulting from chemotoxicity induced as a side effect of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treatment. The first-person, phenomenological account of the condition naturally leads to philosophical questions about consciousness, felt presence of oneself all over and within one’s body, and the felt constitutiveness of peripheral processes to one’s mental life. The first-person data only fit well with a philosophical approach to the mind that takes peripheral, bodily events and states at their face value, and not as a body-in-the-brain, which has been popular with most neuroscientists. Thus the philosophical tradition that comes closest to the idea of the peripheral mind is Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s bodily phenomenology.

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István Aranyosi
Bilkent University

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