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The Conscious Brain$
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Jesse Prinz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195314595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195314595.001.0001

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Whose Consciousness? The Illusory Self

Whose Consciousness? The Illusory Self

Chapter:
(p.213) 7 Whose Consciousness? The Illusory Self
Source:
The Conscious Brain
Author(s):

Jesse J. Prinz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195314595.003.0007

Many authors, including Descartes and Kant, have assumed that the self is somehow presented to us in experience. Those who believe in a phenomenal self sometimes try to reduce it to something else, such as an experience of the body, while others think it is irreducible. Following Hume, this chapter argues against both options, claiming that there is no phenomenal self—or more accurately, the self cannot be experience as a subject, but only as an object, such as a body. Philosophical arguments and neuroscientific evidence for a phenomenal self is critically reviewed. Phenomena considered include: feelings of ownership and authorship, the feeling of losing oneself, the experience of one’s body as a self, and the alleged role of the self in conscious unity. None of these phenomena establish a phenomenal self. The chapter ends by suggesting that the self may nevertheless be implicit, rather than explicit, in experience.

Keywords:   the self, the subject, bodily experience, Cartesian ego, ownership and authorship experiences, Hume

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