- In recent years there has been a general attempt – inspired by P.F. Strawson – to naturalise Kant’s notion of the transcendental self. The argument being that self-consciousness should refer to neither a kind of noumenal nor mental self but that the self-conscious subject must conceive of itself as an embodied entity, a person among persons that regards itself as an element of the objective order of the world.
- While Kant does not make room for the notion of an embodied transcendental self, this is where we need to go as our bodily awareness is central both for self-knowledge and the possibility of cognition and thus a transcendental condition for knowledge claims.
- In this paper I should like to single out Quassim Cassam’s work "Cassam (Quassim) - Self and World" to see whether such a position is tenable. Cassam’s main claim is that we can only become aware of ourselves as subjects if we are at the very same time aware of ourselves as objects located in the spatio-temporal world. We could not be self-conscious and ascribe experiences to ourselves unless we are also aware of ourselves as a physical object among other physical objects in the world.
- The central claim is that when we self-refer we do not refer to two distinct entities, one possessing only mental, and the other possessing only physical features, rather we refer to a subject that is both mental and physical at the very same time. Awareness of ourselves qua subject is just awareness of ourselves qua object.
- This paper will focus on this claim alone and will ask whether it is tenable. The answer will be negative.
- Drawing on the work of Edmund Husserl, I shall argue that there is an inherent flaw in Cassam’s position which he has inherited from Gareth Evans’ depiction of the self.
- The contention will be that our awareness of ourselves qua subject is not compatible with the awareness of ourselves qua object.
- For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.
- Downloaded from Cambridge Core.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)