VII. The Illusory nature of inner experience
VII The Complex metaphor of the Subject-self
Keywords: inner life, essence, metaphor, self-control, mapping
What is philosophically important is that there is no single, unified notion of our inner lives. There is not one Subject-Self distinction, but several. All of these distinctions are metaphorical and cannot be reduced to any consistent literal conception of Subject and Self. The notions of Subject and Self express the apparently universal experiences of an “inner life” and the metaphors for conceptualising our inner lives are grounded in other apparently universal experiences. These metaphors appear to be unavoidable, to arise naturally from common experience. Moreover, each metaphor conceptualises the Subject as being person-like, with an existence independent of the Self. The Self can be either a person, an object, or a location.
The philosophical significance of such study is that the very way that we normally conceptualise our inner ← 71 | 72 → lives is inconsistent with what we know scientifically about the nature of the mind. In our system for conceptualising our inner lives, there is always a Subject that is the locus of reason and that metaphorically has an existence independent of the body. As demonstrated in section IV of the present text, this contradicts the fundamental findings of cognitive science. Yet, the conception of such a Subject arises around the world uniformly on the basis of apparently universal and unchangeable experiences. If this is true, it means that we all grow up with a view of our inner...
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