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The Death and Life of the Self

Post-Wittgensteinian Investigations

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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

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II    The “I” of the beholder

Keywords: self, myself, object, subject, identity

What is a self? What is the relation between phenomenal 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 questions related to the phenomenon of the self. L. Wittgenstein 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 reflects originality in defining the subject matter of philosophy itself. Philosophy, for Wittgenstein, has a double 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: “Philosophy results in disclosing of one or another piece of ← 19 | 20 → plain nonsense and in the bumps that the understanding has got by running its head up against the limits of language. These bumps make us see the value of the disclosure” (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 surface grammar of expressions is often...

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