Self‐awareness and self‐understanding

European Journal of Philosophy:1-25 (forthcoming)
Authors
B. Scot Rousse
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
In this paper, I critically examine Dan Zahavi’s multidimensional account of the self and show how the distinction he makes among ‘pre-reflective minimal’, ‘interpersonal’, and ‘normative’ dimensions of selfhood needs to be refined in order to accommodate what I call ‘pre-reflective self-understanding’. The latter is a normative dimension of selfhood manifest not in reflection and deliberation, but in the habits and style of a person’s pre-reflective absorption in the world. After reviewing Zahavi's multidimensional account and revealing this gap in his explanatory taxonomy, I draw upon Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Frankfurt in order to sketch an account of pre-reflective self-understanding. I end by raising an objection to Zahavi’s claim for the primitive and foundational status of pre-reflective self-awareness. To carve off self-awareness from the self’s practical immersion in a situation where things and possibilities already matter and draw one to act is to distort the phenomena. A more careful phenomenology of pre-reflective action shows that pre-reflective self-awareness and pre-reflective self-understanding are co-constitutive, both mutually for each other and jointly for everyday experience.
Keywords Phenomenology  Self-Awareness  Heidegger  Merleau-Ponty  Philosophy of Action
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DOI 10.1111/ejop.12377
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The Sources of Normativity.Christine Korsgaard - 1996 - Mind 106 (424):791-794.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.James J. Gibson - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

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