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Philosophical Perspectives on the Self


Edited By Joao Fonseca and Jorge Goncalves

For the last decade the topic of the Self has been under intense scrutiny from researchers of various areas spanning from philosophy, neurosciences, and psychology to anthropology and sociology. The present volume addresses the Self under different and influent philosophical perspectives: from phenomenology and psychoanalysis to metaphysics and neurophilosophy and discusses several and distinct problems such as personal identity, the core/narrative self-distinction, psychopathologies, the mind-body problem and the nature of the relations between self, consciousness and emotions. The book reflects these different philosophical problems and approaches and aims to provide a map of current philosophical perspectives on the topic of the Self.
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Conceptual Personae of the “attentional self”



1. Introduction

“Everything has to be rethought from the beginning” Mr. Palomar (Calvino 1985, 115)

In this paper I take attention as a constitutive ground of the self. I critically survey the claim of Metzinger that a subjective self, defined as the centre of awareness, is the possibility of being able to manipulate the focus of attention, thereby stabilizing subjective experience. Thus I propose an attentional self in which I will put Metzinger’s thesis of the “control of the focus of attention” and the resulting notion of the “attentional self” critically into perspective by approximating the concept of the self by means of conceptual personae of the “impossible” attentional self in Paul Valery’s dyadic conceptual personae “Monsieur Teste”/ “Émilie Teste” and the “heautoscopic” attentional self in Italo Calvino’s “Mister Palomar”.

Philosophical Concepts, according to Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari in “What is philosophy?”(WP) can be personae – as explicitly as the appearing of “Socrates” for Plato or “Dionysus” and “Zarathustra” for Nietzsche- that act from a constitutive plane of philosophy and create concepts on this plane2 at the same time. What ← 277 | 278 → Deleuze & Guattari call “A conceptual personae […] thinks in us”3 (WP, p. 69) is thus more complex than a specific representational model of thinking or of a represented narrative self in symbolic representation. Therefore we have to underline the importance of conceptual personae for the creation of different points of view by these...

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