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The Subject of Experience$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777885.001.0001

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‘The Self’

‘The Self’

Chapter:
(p.16) 2 ‘The Self’
Source:
The Subject of Experience
Author(s):

Galen Strawson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777885.003.0002

Many analytic philosophers have denied that the expression ‘the self’ refers to anything. Others have said its meaning is too unclear for it to be used in philosophy. Others have claimed that the only legitimate use of ‘I’ or ‘the self’ or ‘the subject of experience’ in the human case is to refer to the human being considered as a whole. This chapter aims to endow ‘the self’ (and ‘I’ and ‘subject of experience’) with sufficiently clear meaning, within a wholly materialist framework, without taking it to refer to the whole human being. It looks first at the phenomenology of self-experience, the experience of there being such a thing as the self, and see how the self is figured in self-experience. This provides materials with which to give the classical metaphysical questions (Do selves exist? What is their nature?) substantive and testable content.

Keywords:   I, self, self-experience, subject of experience, materialism, phenomenology

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