Raymond Martin and John Barresi trace the development of Western ideas about personal identity and reveal the larger intellectual trends, controversies, and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves.
Organisms engage in various activities that are directed at objects, whether real or imagined. Such activities may be termed “intentional relations.” We present a four-level framework of social understanding that organizes the ways in which social organisms represent the intentional relations of themselves and other agents. We presuppose that the information available to an organism about its own intentional relations (or first person information) is qualitatively different from the information available to that organism about other agents’ intentional relations (or third (...) person information). However, through the integration of these two sources of information, it is possible to generate representations of intentional relations that are uniformly applicable to the activities of both self and other. The four levels of the framework differ in the extent to which such integration occurs and in the degree to which imagination is involved in generating these representations. Most animals exist at the lowest level, at which integration of first and third person sources of information does not occur. Of nonhuman species, only great apes exhibit social understanding at intermediate levels, at which integration of these sources of information provides uniform representations of intentional relations. Only humans attain the highest level, at which it is possible to represent intentional relations with mental objects. We propose that with the development of the imagination, children progress through three stages, equivalent to the later three levels of the framework. The abnormalities in social understanding of autistic individuals are hypothesized to result from a failure to develop integrated representations of intentional relations. (shrink)
The psychological mechanisms implicated in psychopathy do not limit their activity to those behaviors that support a cheater strategy in social games. They result in a number of other clearly maladaptive behaviors that do not directly involve other individuals. Thus, any gains that might arise from the use of a cheater strategy in social situations are probably lost elsewhere.
This article examines the historical conception of the words self and person in philosophical theory. It discusses John Locke's definition of the self as the conscious thinking thing and the person as a thinking intelligent being. It describes the Platonist view of the self as spiritual substance and Aristotelian belief that the self is a hylomorphic substance. It also explores the relevant topics of Epicureanism atomism, Cartesian dualism, and the developmental and social origin of self-concepts.
_Naturalization of the Soul_ charts the development of the concepts of soul and self in Western thought, from Plato to the present. It fills an important gap in intellectual history by being the first book to emphasize the enormous intellectual transformation in the eighteenth century, when the religious 'soul' was replaced first by a philosophical 'self' and then by a scientific 'mind'. The authors show that many supposedly contemporary theories of the self were actually discussed in the eighteenth century, and (...) recognize the status of William Hazlitt as one of the most important Personal Identity theorists of the British Enlightenment, for his direct relevance to contemporary thinking. Now available in paperback, _Naturaliazation of the Soul_ is essential reading for anyone interested in the issues at the core of the Western philosophical tradition. (shrink)
How does an entity become a person? Forty years ago Carl Rogers answered this question by suggesting that human beings become persons through a process of personal growth and self-discovery. In the present paper I provide six different answers to this question, which form a hierarchy of empirical projects and associated criteria that can be used to understand human personhood. They are: (1) persons are constructed out of natural but organic materials; (2) persons emerge as a form of adaptation through (...) the process of evolution; (3) persons develop ontogenetically; (4) persons are created through the unifying activity of self-narrative ; (5) persons are constituted through socio-historical and cultural processes; and (6) the concept of person is a normative ideal . I suggest that it is important to consider all of these projects and related criteria in order to appreciate fully how an entity becomes a human person. (shrink)
selves than we care about others, so we are more likely to attend to and interpret our own activities than we are likely to attend to and interpret the activities of others. Yet, it is also a common notion that a person has the least knowledge of his or her own biases or prejudices, and that it is often a naive observer, who can better interpret the meaning of someone's actions when such biases are involved.
As adults we have little difficulty thinking of ourselves as mental beings extended in time. Even though our conscious thoughts and experiences are constantly changing, we think of ourselves as the same self throughout these variations in mental content. Indeed, it is so natural for adults to think this way that it was not until the 18th century—at least in Western thought—that the issue of how we come to acquire such a concept of an identical but constantly changing self was (...) first recognized as a problem that required an explanation. Philosophical discussion of this issue was initiated when John Locke (1694/1975) proposed a notion of personal identity and selfhood based on consciousness: For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and ‘tis that, that makes every one to be, what he calls self; and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things, in this alone consists personal Identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational Being: And as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past Action or Thought, so far reaches the Identity of that Person; it is the same self now it was then; and ‘tis by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that Action was done. (p. 335) According to this view, we are the same self insofar as we can consciously accept as our own not only those mental and physical acts that we perform now but also those acts done in the past, that we can.. (shrink)
My goal is to try to understand the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. My basic methodological assumption is that embodied agents, through their sensory-motor, affective, and cognitive activities directed at objects, engage in intentional relations with these objects. Furthermore, I assume that intentional relations can be viewed from a first- and a third-person perspective. What is called primary consciousness is the first-person perspective of the agent engaged in a current intentional relation. While primary consciousness posits an implicit.
It has been suggested that the difference between misremembering (Orwellian) and misrepresentation (Stalinesque) models of consciousness cannot be differentiated (Dennett, 1991). According to an Orwellian account a briefly presented stimulus is seen and then forgotten; whereas, by a Stalinesque account it is never seen. At the same time, Dennett suggested a method for assessing whether an individual is conscious of something. An experiment was conducted which used the suggested method for assessing consciousness to look at Stalinesque and Orwellian distinctions. A (...) visual illusion, illusory line motion, was presented and participants were requested to make judgments that reflected what they were aware of. The participants were able to make responses indicating that they were aware of the actual stimulus in some conditions, but only of the illusion in others. This finding supports a claim that the difference between the Orwellian and Stalinesque accounts may be empirically observable, and that both types of events may occur depending on task and stimulus parameters. (shrink)
In this chapter I look closely at the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. I begin with a consideration of Gurwitsch's suggestive ideas about the role of acts of consciousness in constituting both the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I turn next to a discussion of how these ideas relate to my own empirical approach to intentional relations seen from a developmental perspective. This is followed by a discussion of some recent ideas in philosophical cognitive science on the (...) intentionality of consciousness, both with respect to the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I show that these recent trends tend to naturalize intentionality and consciousness in directions compatible with the descriptive aspects of Gurwitsch's constitutive phenomenology. (shrink)
I will trace the history of western conceptions of soul and self from the ancient Greeks to the present. The story line that I will present is based mainly on material covered in two books by Ray Martin and myself: _The Naturalization of the Soul: Self and Personal Identity in the_.
himself or a proper object of his egoistic self-concern. Hazlitt concluded that belief in personal identity must be an acquired imaginary conception and that since in reality each of us is no more related to his or her future self than to the future self of any other person none of us is 2 ‘.
John Grifﬁ n’s classic on racism, Black Like Me (1960), provides an interesting text with which to investigate the development of a dialogical self. Grifﬁ n becomes a black man for only a short period of time, but during that time he develops a black social identity and sense of personal identity, that contrasts radically with his former white identity. When he looks into a mirror on several occasions he engages in a dialogue with himself, as both a black and (...) a white person. At ﬁ rst these two identities are so different that there is no “sympathy” between them. But through his experience, he eventually overcomes the dichotomy of two opposing selves, and acquires a personal identity, neither white nor black, but just human. In this article, I trace the development of these dialogical selves and the emergence of this new human identity. Key words: identity, racism, self, black, white.. (shrink)
Locke’s concepts of person and self as they first appeared in the 1694 essay were not original to him but had already appeared in the Trinitarian controversy in England in the early 1690s. In particular, William Sherlock, who in 1690 argued that the Trinity might be understood as composed of three distinct self-conscious minds or persons in one God, previously used not only concepts but also phrases that Locke used in his definition of person. Both Sherlock and Locke defined person (...) as a unity of mind or self that, in Sherlock’s terms, extends as far as consciousness reaches. (shrink)
We consider the various criticisms and requests for clarification made by the commentators of our framework for understanding intentional relations. Our response is organized according to the main themes in the target article: general theory, phylogeny, development, and autism. We also add some discussion of further issues, such as simulation and moral theory, that were not addressed in the target article.
Human beings may be the only organisms capable of thinking of self and other in equivalent ways – as selves and persons. Most organisms think about their own activities differently than they do the activities of others. A few large-brained organisms like chimps and dolphins sometimes think of the activities of self and other in the same way. But, only humans think quite generally in this manner. In this paper I give a description of our commonsense notions of self and (...) person, and a scientific framework in which it can be fit. I then provide a phylo- and onto-genetic account of these concepts. Finally, I argue that the theory of reciprocal altruism provides the best account of why the notions of self and person evolved to have the form and function they do with respect to human social life and moral capacities. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Recently, researchers have been investigating the effects of kinematic stimulus properties on pattern perception and recognition, However, the stimulus properties that are used to discriminate animate from inanimate objects have received relatively little attention. Earlier research has indicated that the external movement of artificially generated objects is perceived as animate by observers of all ages. In this investigation, children in Grades 1, 4, and 7 and university adults were asked to describe what they saw after viewing computer-generated displays of two (...) circular objects that exhibited variations of external and internal movement. 'We predicted that observers would incorporate and integrate the salient kinematic properties of the objects in a display into a coherent narrative and that their ability to achieve matches among the properties of objects in a display and the properties of objects described in the narrative would increase with age. Moreover, because of their relative insensitivity to the actual properties of objects in the display, we predicted that younger observers would make more animate attributions for nonmoving objects and fewer animate attributions for moving objects than would older observers, The results supported these predictions. (shrink)
Durgin's (2002) commentary on our article provides us with an opportunity to look more closely at the relationship between information processing and consciousness. In our article we contrasted the information processing approach to interpreting our data, with our own 'scientific' approach to consciousness. However, we should point out that, on our view, information processing as a methodology is not by itself in conflict with the scientific study of consciousness - indeed, we have adopted this very methodology in our experiments, which (...) we purport to use to investigate consciousness. Furthermore, Durgin's own review of the history of research on metacontrast (Lachter & Durgin, 1999) shows that some researchers investigating metacontrast also thought that they were in the business of evaluating the role of consciousness in accounting for their effects. Yet, there is no doubt that metacontrast research is a paradigm case of research generated from an information processing perspective. So, prima facie, investigating consciousness and using information processing methodology are compatible. (shrink)
We focus on the role that motor mimicry plays in the SIMS model when interpreting whether a facial emotional expression is appropriate to an eliciting context. Based on our research, we find general support for the SIMS model in these situations, but with some qualifications on how disruption of motor mimicry as a process relates to speed and accuracy in judgments.
By focusing primarily on communication between adult and child and on adult-set criteria for appropriate action, Carpendale & Lewis's (C&L's) account of the development of social understanding in the epistemic triangle tends toward an enculturation view, while diminishing the role of individuals. What their proposed mechanism fails to acknowledge is that the two agents in the epistemic triangle necessarily have independent perspectives of the object and of each other.
If selection at the group level is to be considered more than a mere possibility, it is important to find phenomena that are best explained at this level of selection. I argue that human religious phenomena provide evidence for the selection of a “pious gene” at the group level, which results in a human tendency to believe in a transcendental reality that encourages behavioral conformity to collective as opposed to individual interest.