Oxford University Press (2009)

Galen Strawson
University of Texas at Austin
What is the self? Does it exist? If it does exist, what is it like? It's not clear that we even know what we're asking about when we ask these large, metaphysical questions. The idea of the self comes very naturally to us, and it seems rather important, but it's also extremely puzzling. As for the word "self"--it's been taken in so many different ways that it seems that you can mean more or less what you like by it and come up with almost any answer. Galen Strawson proposes to approach the (seeming) problem of the self by starting from the thing that makes it seem there is a problem in the first place: our experience of the self, our experience of having or being a self, a hidden, inner mental presence or locus of consciousness. He argues that we should consider the phenomenology (experience) of the self before we attempt its metaphysics (its existence and nature). And when we have considered what it's like for human beings (assuming we can generalize about ourselves), we need to consider what it might be like for other possible creatures: what's the very least that might count as experience of oneself as a self? This, he proposes, will give us a good idea of what we ought to be looking for when we go on to ask whether there is such a thing-an idea worth following wherever it leads. It leads Strawson to conclude that selves, inner subjects of experience, do indeed exist. But they bear little resemblance to traditional conceptions of the self
Keywords Self (Philosophy  Self  Ontology  Phenomenology  Metaphysics
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Reprint years 2011
Buy this book $37.95 from Amazon    $41.83 used   Amazon page
Call number BD450.S7775 2009
ISBN(s) 0198250061   9780198250067   9780199693108   0199693102
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Chapters BETA

This introductory chapter begins by describing the eight parts of the book. It then explores the meaning of ‘I’ and the ‘self’. It argues for the transience view of the self — that there are many short-lived or transient selves, if there are any at all. It further argues that selves exist,... see more

Phenomenology: The Local Question

This chapter proposes that if one wants to enquire into the existence and nature of the self (Is there such a thing? What is it like if it exists?), then it's wise, and perhaps necessary, to start with an investigation of the experience of there being such a thing. One should start with an... see more

Phenomenology and Metaphysics: Self‐Experience and Self‐Consciousness

This chapter takes up the proposal about the minimal form of self-experience in order to consider the relation between self-experience and self-consciousness. Does self-consciousness require or presuppose self-experience? It presents the case for answering No, while acknowledging that the ... see more

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Toward an Explanatory Framework for Mental Ownership.Timothy Lane - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):251-286.
The Self Shows Up in Experience.Matt Duncan - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (2):299-318.

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