The first-person perspective: A test for naturalism

American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (4):327-348 (1998)


Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self-consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self-consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by functionalist models. For example, recently Ned Block commented

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Lynne Rudder Baker
PhD: Vanderbilt University; Last affiliation: University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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