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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 and the Sesmet

The Self and the Sesmet

(p.41) 3 The Self and the Sesmet
The Subject of Experience

Galen Strawson

Oxford University Press

This chapter pursues the project of ‘“The Self”’. A description of the nature of self-experience leads to a metaphysics of the self, according to which a self is a ‘sesmet’, that is, a [1] subject of experience that is a [2] single [3] mental [4] thing. The relevant sense of ‘thing’ requires careful specification. The specification allows [i] that all things are equally well thought of as processes, and [ii] that Fichte’s characterization of the self as a Tathandlung or ‘deed-activity’ qualifies as a characterization of the self as a thing. Does the claim that a self is a ‘single mental thing’ support a picture of the self as an immaterial soul? The chapter argues that human selves are correctly said to be ‘single mental things’ although materialism is true: Selves are wholly physical entities, and are perhaps fleeting, transient, short-lived in the way Buddhists suppose.

Keywords:   I, self, self-experience, subject of experience, sesmet, Fichte, Tathandlung, immaterial soul, materialism, Buddhism

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