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The Death and Life of the Self

Post-Wittgensteinian Investigations


Silvia Gáliková

What is a self? What is the relation between phenomenal consciousness and the self? What are we talking about when we speak of conscious experience, the self, an inner mental world? In order to answer these questions the author reconsiders the «turn to the self» in contemporary philosophy of mind. The human self is considered as a natural phenomenon open to careful theoretical analysis, empirical and experimental research. The loss of everyday intuitions on the nature of self plays a significantly liberating role in self-understanding and explaining man’s behaviour.


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II. The “I” of the beholder


19 II The “I” of the beholder Keywords: self, myself, object, subject, identity What is a  self? What is the relation between phenom- enal consciousness and the self? In what sense can the “self” be a real object in the world? What are we talking about when we speak of conscious experience, the self, and an inner mental world? These questions present just a small fraction from the multitude of open ques- tions related to the phenomenon of the self. L. Wittgen- stein devoted much of his work to questions concerning the status and legitimacy of the self. It is important to point out that every aspect of his philosophical thinking refl ects originality in defi ning the subject matter of phi- losophy itself. Philosophy, for Wittgenstein, has a dou- ble aspect. On the one hand it is a cure for diseases of the intellect. Philosophical problems are symptoms of conceptual entanglement in the web of language: “Phi- losophy results in disclosing of one or another piece of 20 plain nonsense and in the bumps that the understanding has got by running its head up against the limits of lan- guage. These bumps make us see the value of the disclo- sure” (PI, § 119). On the other hand, philosophy is a quest for the  perspicuous representation of segments of our language that are a source of conceptual confusion. Our grammar and rules for the use of our words cannot be, according to Wittgenstein, taken in at a glance. For the...

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