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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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III. The Phenomenological self


29 III The Phenomenological self Keywords: direct access, phenomenological reduction, lived experience, irreducibility The seemingly unproblematic existence of the self in everyday experience has become a  deep theoretical problem. What is the basic structure, the basic concep- tual framework of self-experience? Does the self have an experiential reality or is it nothing but a  theoreti- cal fi ction? Is there any use of the self in our conscious lives? Diffi culties in answering these persisting ques- tions are closely related to a “terminological fog” which is spread over the study of the mind and consciousness. In approaching the phenomena of our conscious life, however, scholars seem to agree upon the following: – The mind and self are embodied, a picture of disem- bodied reason, the self, consciousness existing inde- pendently of bodily structures is either a categorical mistake, a myth or both 30 – mind-body dualism has no explanatory force in the contemporary study of the nature of human experi- ence, cognition is both embodied and embedded – people as cognitive agents live and act in the world – the reality of the self has its origin in the way we experience ourselves from the inside – experimental and clinical fi ndings are highly relevant to the study of the phenomena of the self and con- sciousness At fi rst sight, followers of a variety of “isms” approach the self and conscious states as natural phenomena are open to scientifi c research and explanation. However, due to philosophers’ often confl icting proposals and models, the most prevalent issues...

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