The Phenomenal Self
Dainton (Barry)
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Authors Citing this Book: Dainton (Barry)


BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Blurb

  1. Barry Dainton presents a fascinating new account of the self, the key to which is experiential or phenomenal continuity.
  2. Provided our mental life continues we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic physical alterations, or even moving from one body to another. It was this fact that led John Locke to conclude that a credible account of our persistence conditions1 – an account which reflects how we actually conceive of ourselves – should be framed in terms of mental rather than material continuity. But mental continuity comes in different forms. Most of Locke's contemporary followers agree that our continued existence is secured by psychological continuity2, which they take to be made up of memories, beliefs, intentions, personality traits, and the like.
  3. Dainton argues that a better and more believable account can be framed in terms of the sort of continuity we find in our streams of consciousness from moment to moment. Why? Simply because provided this continuity is not lost – provided our streams of consciousness flow on – we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic psychological alterations. Phenomenal continuity seems to provide a more reliable guide to our persistence than any other form of continuity. The Phenomenal Self is a full-scale defence and elaboration of this premise.
  4. The first task is arriving at an adequate understanding of phenomenal unity and continuity. This achieved, Dainton turns to the most pressing problem facing any experience-based approach: losses of consciousness. How can we survive them? He shows how the problem can be solved in a satisfactory manner by construing ourselves as systems of experiential capacities.
  5. He then moves on to explore a range of further issues.
    • How simple can a self be?
    • How are we related to our bodies?
    • Is our persistence an all-or-nothing affair?
    • Do our minds consist of parts which could enjoy an independent existence?
    • Is it metaphysically intelligible to construe ourselves as systems of capacities?
  6. The book concludes with a novel treatment of fission and fusion.

BOOK COMMENT:



"Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self: Preface"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self



"Dainton (Barry) - Mind and Self"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 1


Sections
  1. Mind and Self – 1
  2. Can it be so easy? – 1
  3. Psychological continuity1 – 6
  4. First doubts – 11
  5. Some varieties of virtual life – 14
  6. Strands untangled – 21



"Dainton (Barry) - Phenomenal Unity"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 2


Sections
  1. Experience – 28
  2. Phenomenal space – 34
  3. Self and awareness – 39
  4. A superfluous self – 42
  5. Simplicity and unity – 46



"Dainton (Barry) - Phenomenal Continuity"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 3


Sections
  1. A constraint – 51
  2. Memory – 53
  3. Chunks, apprehensions and representations – 56
  4. Overlap and flow – 63
  5. Phenomenal cuts – 68
  6. The one experience view – 71
  7. Streamal unity – 73



"Dainton (Barry) - Powers and Subjects"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 4


Sections
  1. Bridge building – 75
  2. Experience-machines and beyond – 81
  3. Power structures – 88
  4. The C-theory – 111
  5. Powers in general – 114
  6. Projection and production – 131



"Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self: Alternatives"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 5


Sections
  1. The self in experience – 135
  2. Bridges of resemblance – 148
  3. Fundamentalism – 151
  4. Foster's modal1 bridge – 153
  5. Unger's material bridge – 161



"Dainton (Barry) - Minds and Mental Integration"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 6


Sections
  1. From C-systems to minds – 170
  2. Aspects of mind – 171
  3. Psycho-phenomenal integration – 175
  4. C-relations and P-relations – 178
  5. From a functional perspective – 181
  6. Non-phenomenal selves – 188
  7. What matters1 – 192



"Dainton (Barry) - Embodiment"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 7


Sections
  1. A blurring – 201
  2. Four grades of embodiment – 203
  3. Phenomenal embodiment – 206
  4. Effective embodiment – 209
  5. Boundary disputes – 215
  6. Monist alternatives – 224
  7. Minimalism and possession – 227



"Dainton (Barry) - Simple Selves"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 8


Sections
  1. Simplicity and isolation – 236
  2. Isolation: strands of a defence – 238
  3. Reductio? – 245
  4. Minimal subjects – 249
  5. A minimal modification, and a moral – 251
  6. Weak unity – 254



"Dainton (Barry) - Holism"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 9


Sections
  1. Unity and interdependence – 264
  2. Interdependent potentials – 266
  3. Phenomenal interdependence – 272
  4. Organization and interference – 273
  5. C-holism – 277
  6. From C-holism to power holism – 289
  7. Power systematicity – 300
  8. Simplicity – 307



"Dainton (Barry) - Modes of Incapacitation"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 10


Sections
  1. Absoluteness – 311
  2. Some varieties of incapacitation – 313
  3. Brains – 316
  4. Cyclical subjects – 319
  5. Congenial decomposition – 321
  6. Assessments – 325
  7. Deviancy- 331
  8. Teleportation1 revisited – 336
  9. From Egos to C-systems – 338



"Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self: Objections and Replies"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 11


Sections
  1. Ontological qualms – 341
  2. Issues of substance – 342
  3. Unity and independence – 344
  4. Menacing circularities – 348
  5. Ownership, isolation and holism – 354
  6. Power worlds – 359



"Dainton (Barry) - The Topology of the Self"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 12


Sections
  1. Fission – 364
  2. Fission as fatal – 368
  3. Can consciousness divide? – 370
  4. Overlap to the rescue? – 373
  5. Time travel1 and double existence – 378
  6. Personal and phenomenal time – 381
  7. Non-linearity – 385
  8. Time and times – 389
  9. Issues and objections – 393
  10. Fusion – 400
  11. The many shapes of life – 406



"Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self: Appendix - Reductionism"

Source: Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self, Chapter 13


Author’s Introduction
  1. The term ‘reductionism1’ has entered into recent discussions of person and their identity. Some theories are classed as reductionist, others as non-reductionist, where does the C-theory2 stand? Is it a reductionist theory? If so, is it reductionist to an extent that is objectionable or problematic?
  2. In one respect the C-theory is not at all reductionist. It provides an account of the self in wholly mentalistic terms, and no attempt is made to reduce mental terms or concepts to non-mental terms or concepts, or to say that mental items are identical with, or constituted by, non-mental items.
  3. Taking experience seriously means taking experience to be an ineliminable component of reality. Moreover, if we take concepts such as ‘person’, ‘self’, ‘subject’, and ‘experience’ to belong to the same family, then the C-theorist’s enterprise is a family business – all the concepts employed belong to the same circle.
  4. Yet, in other respects, the C-theory may seem very reductionist indeed: selves or subjects are equated with complexes of interrelated mental items. What could be more reductionist than this?
  5. To assess the extent to which the C-theory is reductionist, we need a clearer idea of what ‘reductionism’ amounts to. Parfit is largely responsible for introducing the notion into the field of personal identity, and has provided several characterizations of what a reductive account of persons would amount to or require – particularly in Part III of "Parfit (Derek) - Reasons and Persons" – but before commenting on these, I will make some general remarks.




In-Page Footnotes ("Dainton (Barry) - The Phenomenal Self: Appendix - Reductionism")

Footnote 2:
  • This is Dainton’s – rather technical – theory of the persisting self in terms of streams of Consciousness - hence the "C".
  • This – while thoroughly grounded in a psychological view of our identity – sounds like it would be useful in my consideration of Forward Psychological continuity.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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