This chapter considers P. F. Strawson’s argument for the ‘primitiveness of the concept of a person’. It questions his rejection of the claim that there are two distinct referring uses of ‘I’. Strawson was combating a philosophical tendency to overspiritualize the subject of experience, to forget the importance of body or embodiment. This chapter argues that philosophers have since gone too far in the other direction, in spite of corrective remarks by Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Wundt, William James, and others—even Bradley. Many philosophers also favour a picture of human awareness according to which it is always tightly locked on to external objects and events, effectively self-invisible, unaware of itself as such. This picture is challenged by a consideration of some of the extraordinarily pervasive respects in which awareness of one’s mental life, apprehended specifically as such, is itself a more or less constant feature of one’s experience.
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