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The SelfNaturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199652365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652365.001.0001

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(p.146) 8 Self‐Consciousness
The Self

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

This chapter distinguishes between two concepts of self‐consciousness. What is sometimes called a first‐person perspective can consist of nothing more than a matter of having one's own mental life in view. A first‐person stance, in contrast, does require something more: it demands that one's mental life presents itself to one as “mine”, as owned by me. The chapter develops an account, due to the later Vasubandhu, in which the phenomenal marking of experience with mineness (kḷṣṭa‐manas) is based on drawing information from a mental file, the repository‐consciousness (ālaya‐vijñāna). Items in the repository do not themselves present with mineness, but comprise a sort of first‐personal databank for the mind, information that can be drawn upon in the activity of bringing the states of the stream into conscious attention. The distinction between the mere occurrence of states with representational content and the availability of a first‐person stance lies, according to this theory, in the way one's states access stored information about oneself, and in doing so “root” the state in one's deep psychology. The phenomenal mineness of a mental state, the sense of ownership that comes with it, is strongly associated with its rootedness in deep strata of the psyche. This theory is situated in relation to contemporary work on the mimimal self, the perspectival de se, and the idea of transient subjects, and show how it explains the so‐called “immunity to error through misidentification” of first‐person ascription. Vasubandhu also claims, however, that an error is involved in so thinking about one's thought as “mine”, and consequently in the use of the first‐person. This claim is logically independent of his constructive proposal.

Keywords:   self‐consciousness, phenomenal mineness, Vasubandhu, manas, repository‐consciousness, ālaya‐vijñāna

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