Self and consciousness

In Exploring the Self: Philosophical and Psychopathological Perspectives on Self-Experience. John Benjamins. pp. 55-74 (2000)
Dan Zahavi
University of Copenhagen
In his recent book ‘Kant and the Mind’ Andrew Brook makes a distinction between two types of selfawareness. The first type, which he calls empirical self-awareness, is an awareness of particular psychological states such as perceptions, memories, desires, bodily sensations etc. One attains this type of self-awareness simply by having particular experiences and being aware of them. To be in possession of empirical self-awareness is, in short, simply to be conscious of one’s occurrent experience. The second type of self-awareness he calls apperceptive self-awareness. This type of self-awareness entails an awareness of oneself as the subject of experience. For this type of self-awareness to obtain, it would not be enough merely to be conscious of, say, an occurrent perception of a chair, one would also have to be aware that it was oneself who was perceiving the chair. And as Brook adds, when I am self-aware in this way, I am not only aware of being the subject of a single experience, but also aware of myself as the common subject of other psychological states (Brook, 1994: 55-57). I find Brook’s distinction illuminating, but it raises a question which I would like to pursue in this paper. When we speak of self-awareness, do we then necessarily also speak of a self, is there so to speak always a self involved in self-awareness, or is it rather the case, as Brook’s notion of empirical selfawareness might suggest, that there are types of self-awareness which are ‘selfless’, or to use two other related terms ‘subjectless’ or ‘non-egological’? Is self-awareness always to be understood as an awareness of a self, or can it be understood simply as the awareness which a specific experience has of itself? Ultimately, I believe an answer to these questions are important, both when it comes to an understanding of what exactly self-awareness amounts to, and also when it comes to a proper understanding of what a self is..
Keywords Consciousness  Self  Husserl
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,905
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Phenomenological Psychology: Husserl’s Static and Genetic Methods.Daniel Sousa - 2014 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 45 (1):27-60.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Critique of Dretske's Conception of State Consciousness.A. Minh Nguyen - 2001 - Journal of Philosophical Research 26 (January):187-206.
A Direct Realist Account of Perceptual Awareness.Michael Huemer - 1998 - Dissertation, Rutgers University
Five Levels of Self-Awareness as They Unfold Early in Life.Philippe Rochat - 2003 - Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):717-731.
Consciousness: The Transcendalist Manifesto.Mark Rowlands - 2003 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):205-21.
Consciousness During Dreams.P. Cicogna & M. Bosinelli - 2001 - Consciousness and Cognition 10 (1):26-41.
Space and Self-Awareness.John Louis Schwenkler - 2009 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
From the Inside: Consciousness and the First‐Person Perspective.Mark Rowlands - 2008 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (3):281 – 297.
Mirror, Mirror -- Is That All?Robert Van Gulick - 2006 - In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press.
Inner Time-Consciousness and Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness.Dan Zahavi - 2003 - In Donn Welton (ed.), The New Husserl: A Critical Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 157-180.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
208 ( #26,009 of 2,293,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #48,850 of 2,293,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature