Nonconceptual self-consciousness and cognitive science
Bermudez (Jose Luis)
Source: Synthese 129 (October 2001), 129-149
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Abstract

    In thinking about the sources of self-consciousness1 we need to separate out two dimensions of the problem. There is, first, a genetic dimension. One might wonder about the origins of the capacity to think full-fledged self-conscious thoughts. That is to say, one might be asking about where this capacity comes from. How does it emerge in the normal course of human development? What are the genetic foundations on which it rests? Are there more primitive types of first-person contents from which full-fledged self-conscious thoughts emerge? My interest in this paper, in contrast, is with the role that the genetic dimension of self-consciousness2 plays in understanding the epistemology of self-consciousness3. I will take as my foil a recent account of some key features of the epistemic dimension of a particular type of self-conscious judgement – the account offered by Christopher Peacocke in his recent book Being Known (Peacocke 1999). Working through some of the consequences and implications of Peacocke’s account will bring out some important ways in which we need to draw upon the sources of self-consciousness4 in the genetic sense for a proper understanding of the sources of self-consciousness5 in the epistemic sense.

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