This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Self' during my Thesis research, as from 2011. Click here for Note.
Write-up1 (as at 02/07/2017 10:36:29): Self
- The Self is important, as it’s the root of Baker’s FPP3, and the motivator for all psychological4 theories of PI, so understanding just what it is supposed to be is central to my concerns.
- The self is what the reflexive pronouns refer to, but this doesn’t get us far. Just what is a self?
- There’s a temptation to equate the Self with the Person5, but this is to waste a term, and it is likely that the two terms can come apart6.
- Nor is it just the personality, though the reification of the personality is probably at the root of the (misguided) intuition that personal identity is broken if the individual suffers a too-radical change of personality.
- It’s not clear to me that SELF is a natural kind7 concept, so there may not be just one correct answer to its definition.
- But my use will equate a self to an individual with a perspective on the world which – if that individual were a person (as many selves are) – would equal a FPP.
- In "Seth (Anil K.) - The real problem", Anil Seth distinguishes five selves (or aspects of the self, considered as “a complex construction generated by the brain”):-
- The bodily self8, which is the experience of being a body and of having a particular body.
- The perspectival self9, which is the experience of perceiving the world from a particular ﬁrst-person point of view.
- The volitional self10 involves experiences of intention and of agency – of urges to do this or that, and of being the causes of things that happen.
- The narrative self is where the ‘I’ comes in, as the experience of being a continuous and distinctive person over time, built from a rich set of autobiographical memories.
- And the social self11 is that aspect of self-experience that is refracted through the perceived minds of others, shaped by our unique social milieu.
- Not all individuals towards which we might adopt Daniel Dennett’s Intentional Stance are selves.
- While thermometers are excluded, I’m not sure whether having “a sense of self” is essential for being a self. So, creatures that pass the Mirror Test will be Selves, though might not be persons, but others – human infants, gorillas, elephants, dogs, … might be selves.
- As for a reading list, even the short-list immediately below (taken from the reading-list for the section on the Self in Chapter 212 of my Thesis) is rather long, and contains many whole books. I may have to cull several of these further down the line, but it’s worth preserving the full list here.
- I’ve not checked this list recently, so it maybe should grow.
- So, a reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Alexander (Ronald) - The Self, Supervenience and Personal Identity", Alexander13
- "Brennan (Andrew) - Fragmented Selves and the Problem of Ownership", Brennan
- "Bermudez (Jose Luis), Marcel (Anthony) & Eilan (Naomi), Eds. - The Body and the Self", Bermudez
- "Campbell (John) - Past, Space and Self", Campbell
- "Cassam (Quassim) - Kant and Reductionism", Cassam
- "Cassam (Quassim) - Self and World", Cassam
- "Cassam (Quassim) - The Embodied Self", Cassam
- "Churchland (Patricia) - Self and Self-Knowledge", Churchland
- "Dennett (Daniel) - The Reality of Selves", Dennett
- "Dennett (Daniel) - The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity", Dennett
- "Feinberg (Todd) - Altered Egos: How the Brain Creates the Self", Feinberg
- "Gallagher (Shaun) & Shear (Jonathan), Eds. - Models of the Self", Gallagher
- "Harre (Rom) - Persons and Selves", Harre
- "Jenkins (Phil) - Review of Galen Strawson's 'Selves'", Jenkins
- "Johnstone (Henry) - Persons and Selves", Johnstone
- "Lowe (E.J.) - Substance and Selfhood", Lowe
- "Ludwig (Arnold) - How do we Know who we are? A Biography of the Self", Ludwig
- "Madell (Geoffrey) - The Identity of the Self", Madell
- "Martin (Raymond) - Self-Concern: An Experiential Approach to what Matters in Survival", Martin
- "McGinn (Colin) - The Self", McGinn
- "Metzinger (Thomas) - Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity", Metzinger
- "Metzinger (Thomas) - The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self", Metzinger
→ "Godelek (Kamuran) - Review of Thomas Metzinger's 'The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self'", Godelek
- "Nagel (Thomas) - Mind and Body", Nagel
- "Nagel (Thomas) - Subjective and Objective", Nagel
- "Nagel (Thomas) - The Objective Self", Nagel
- "Perry (John) - The Self", Perry
- "Popper (Karl) & Eccles (John) - The Self and Its Brain", Popper&Eccles
- "Schechtman (Marya) - The Constitution of Selves", Schechtman
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Self-Knowledge and Self-Identity", Shoemaker
- "Strawson (Galen) - The Self", Strawson_G
- "Valberg (J.J.) - Dream, Death, and the Self", Valberg
- "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Self: the Incredulous Stare Articulated", Van Inwagen
- "Williams (Bernard) - Problems of the Self", Williams
- "Wolf (Susan) - Self-Interest and Interest in Selves", Wolf
- "Wright (Crispin) - The Problem of Self-Knowledge (I)", Wright
- "Zahavi (Dan) - Subjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the First-Person Perspective", Zahavi
- This is mostly a place-holder14. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (02/07/2017 10:36:29).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 6: There is no unanimity on what a person is; but it will be worth taking candidate definitions and see whether we would be willing to assign selfhood to some non-persons.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8: We are referred to "Seth (Anil K.) - Interoceptive inference, emotion, and the embodied self".
Footnote 9: We are referred to "Ehrsson (H. Henrik) - The Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences".
Footnote 10: We are referred to "Haggard (Patrick) - Human volition: towards a neuroscience of will".
Footnote 13: Alexander thinks that we are Selves, and that Selves are tropes – abstract particulars – which by my lights is about as far from the truth as you can get, so I need to consider his arguments carefully.
- We are referred to “Mechanisms of Social Cognition” by Chris & Uta Frith, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 63:287-313 (January 2012)
- I don’t have access to this, but the abstract is as below ↓
- Social animals including humans share a range of social mechanisms that are automatic and implicit and enable learning by observation. Learning from others includes imitation of actions and mirroring of emotions. Learning about others, such as their group membership and reputation, is crucial for social interactions that depend on trust.
- For accurate prediction of others' changeable dispositions, mentalizing is required, i.e., tracking of intentions, desires, and beliefs.
- Implicit mentalizing is present in infants less than one year old as well as in some nonhuman species.
- Explicit mentalizing is a meta-cognitive process and enhances the ability to learn about the world through self-monitoring and reflection, and may be uniquely human.
- Meta-cognitive processes can also exert control over automatic behavior, for instance, when short-term gains oppose long-term aims or when selfish and prosocial interests collide. We suggest that they also underlie the ability to explicitly share experiences with other agents, as in reflective discussion and teaching. These are key in increasing the accuracy of the models of the world that we construct.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)