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.
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