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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


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 conceptual framework of self-experience? Does the self have an experiential reality or is it nothing but a theoretical fiction? Is there any use of the self in our conscious lives? Difficulties in answering these persisting questions 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 disembodied reason, the self, consciousness existing independently of bodily structures is either a categorical mistake, a myth or both ← 29 | 30 →

–    mind-body dualism has no explanatory force in the contemporary study of the nature of human experience, cognition is both embodied and embedded – people as cognitive agents live and act in the world

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