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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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The Division of the Mind: Paradoxes and Puzzles



1. Beyond divisionism

The hypothesis that the mind is divided is often put forward as a means to make sense of irrationality, whether in the cognitive sphere (delusional beliefs) or in the practical sphere (weak-willed actions). In essence, the “divisionist” argument states that we cannot understand irrational actions and beliefs without assuming that the mind is composed of different sub-systems. Donald Davidson (1985b, p. 353), one of the most prominent proponents of divisionism, explicitly endorses this methodological assumption:

I have urged in several papers that it is only by postulating a kind of compartmentalization of the mind that we can understand, and begin to explain, irrationality.

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