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Phenomenological approaches to self-consciousness

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

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  1. Looking for the Self: Phenomenology, Neurophysiology and Philosophical Significance of Drug-Induced Ego Dissolution.Raphaël Millière - 2017 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11:1-22.
    There is converging evidence that high doses of hallucinogenic drugs can produce significant alterations of self-experience, described as the dissolution of the sense of self and the loss of boundaries between self and world. This article discusses the relevance of this phenomenon, known as “drug-induced ego dissolution (DIED)”, for cognitive neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of mind. Data from self-report questionnaires suggest that three neuropharmacological classes of drugs can induce ego dissolution: classical psychedelics, dissociative anesthetics and agonists of the kappa opioid (...)
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  • Cotard Syndrome, Self-Awareness, and I-Concepts.Rocco Joseph Gennaro - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (1):1-20.
    Various psychopathologies of self-awareness, such as somatoparaphrenia and thought insertion in schizophrenia, might seem to threaten the viability of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness since it requires a HOT about one’s own mental state to accompany every conscious state. The HOT theory of consciousness says that what makes a mental state a conscious mental state is that there is a HOT to the effect that “I am in mental state M.” I have argued in previous work that a (...)
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  • The Pre-Reflective Situational Self.Robert W. Clowes & Klaus Gärtner - 2020 - Topoi 39 (3):623-637.
    It is often held that to have a conscious experience presupposes having some form of implicit self-awareness. The most dominant phenomenological view usually claims that we essentially perceive experiences as our own. This is the so called “mineness” character, or dimension of experience. According to this view, mineness is not only essential to conscious experience, it also grounds the idea that pre-reflective self-awareness constitutes a minimal self. In this paper, we show that there are reasons to doubt this constituting role (...)
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  • More than our Body: Minimal and Enactive Selfhood in Global Paralysis.Miriam Kyselo - 2020 - Neuroethics 13 (2):203-220.
    This paper looks to phenomenology and enactive cognition in order to shed light on the self and sense of self of patients with locked-in syndrome. It critically discusses the concept of the minimal self, both in its phenomenological and ontological dimension. Ontologically speaking, the self is considered to be equal to a person’s sensorimotor embodiment. This bodily self also grounds the minimal sense of self as being a distinct experiential subject. The view from the minimal bodily self presupposes that sociality (...)
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  • Embodied Perception: Redefining the Social.Joshua Soffer - 2001 - Theory and Psychology 11 (5):655-670.
    Common to different versions of social constructionism is the definition of discourse as taking place between persons. Experiences which take place in the absence of immediate others, such as thinking to oneself or reading a text, are treated as secondary phenomena, as introjected versions of social utterance-gestures. This article asserts that representative constructionist articulations of between-person relationality rest on abstractions masking a more primary locus of sociality. I offer an alternative formulation of the social as the embodiment of sensate experience, (...)
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  • Heidegger Against Embodied Cognition.Joshua Soffer - manuscript
    Current approaches in psychology have replaced the idea of a centralized, self-present identity with that of a diffuse system of contextually changing states distributed ecologically as psychologically embodied and socially embedded. However, the failure of contemporary perspectives to banish the lingering notion of a literal, if fleeting, status residing within the parts of a psycho-bio-social organization may result in the covering over of a rich, profoundly intricate process of change within the assumed frozen space of each part. In this paper (...)
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  • Critique of Embodied Affective Cognition:Against Gallagher, Ratcliffe , Varela.Joshua Soffer - manuscript
    Current approaches in psychology have replaced the idea of a centralized, self-present identity with that of a diffuse system of contextually changing states distributed ecologically as psychologically embodied and socially embedded. However, the failure of contemporary perspectives to banish the lingering notion of a literal, if fleeting, status residing within the parts of a psycho-bio-social organization may result in the covering over of a rich, profoundly intricate process of change within the assumed frozen space of each part. In this paper (...)
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  • Consciousness-Body-Time: How Do People Think Lacking Their Body? [REVIEW]Yochai Ataria & Yuval Neria - 2013 - Human Studies 36 (2):159-178.
    War captivity is an extreme traumatic experience typically involving exposure to repeated stressors, including torture, isolation, and humiliation. Captives are flung from their previous known world into an unfamiliar reality in which their state of consciousness may undergo significant change. In the present study extensive interviews were conducted with fifteen Israeli former prisoners of war who fell captive during the 1973 Yom Kippur war with the goal of examining the architecture of human thought in subjects lacking a sense of body (...)
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  • Olivi on Consciousness and Self-Knowledge: The Phenomenology, Metaphysics, and Epistemology of Mind's Reflexivity.Susan Brower-Toland - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 1 (1).
    The theory of mind that medieval philosophers inherit from Augustine is predicated on the thesis that the human mind is essentially self-reflexive. This paper examines Peter John Olivi's (1248-1298) distinctive development of this traditional Augustinian thesis. The aim of the paper is three-fold. The first is to establish that Olivi's theory of reflexive awareness amounts to a theory of phenomenal consciousness. The second is to show that, despite appearances, Olivi rejects a higher-order analysis of consciousness in favor of a same-order (...)
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  • Knowledge of Partial Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness: Implications for Ethical Evaluations?Orsolya Friedrich - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):13-23.
    Recent results from neuroimaging appear to indicate that some patients in a vegetative state have partially intact awareness. These results may demonstrate misdiagnosis and suggest the need not only for alternative forms of treatment, but also for the reconsideration of end-of-life decisions in cases of disorders of consciousness. This article addresses the second consequence. First, I will discuss which aspects of consciousness may be involved in neuroimaging findings. I will then consider various factors relevant to ethical end-of-life decision-making, and analyse (...)
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  • When the Selfing Process Goes Wrong: Social-Biofeedback, Causal Mechanisms, and Pathological Narcissism.Cristina Meini - 2020 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 11 (1):113-127.
    : In direct opposition to the dominant nativist perspective tracing back to Descartes, William James suggested that the sense of self is constructed through a never-ending process of reflexivity. In more recent years, empirical data from various psychological domains have further strengthened this constructivist perspective. Notably, Gergely and Watson’s social biofeedback model has been proposed as a central mechanism in the development of emotional introspection, which itself constitutes a crucial step in the process leading to a mature sense of self. (...)
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  • The Meaning of Feeling:Banishing the Homunculus From Psychology.Joshua Soffer - 2011 - Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts 12 (1):1-29.
    Current approaches in psychology have replaced the idea of a centralized, self-present identity with that of a diffuse system of contextually changing states distributed ecologically as psychologically embodied and socially embedded. However, the failure of contemporary perspectives to banish the lingering notion of a literal, if fleeting, status residing within the parts of a psycho-bio-social organization may result in the covering over of a rich, profoundly intricate process of change within the assumed frozen space of each part. In this paper (...)
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  • A Properly Embodied Self Within a Naturalistic, Bottom-Up and Systemic-Relational Framework.Tiziana Vistarini Massimo Marraffa - 2019 - Humana Mente 12 (36).
    In this article a neo-Jamesian approach to the self is developed within a naturalistic, bottom-up, and systemic-relational framework. In this approach, consciousness of the body as one’s own body is a necessary precondition of self-consciousness as psychological self-awareness, and hence of a socially and historically situated narrative self. Thus we take on board the criticism of those accounts of the narrative self that pay little attention to embodiment, or go to the extreme of stating that the narrative self is abstract (...)
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  • The Idols of Inner-Sense.Chad Kidd - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1759-1782.
    Many philosophers hold one of two extreme views about our capacity to have phenomenally conscious experience : either that inner-sense enables us to know our experience and its properties infallibly or the contrary conviction that inner-sense is utterly fallible and the evidence it provides completely defeasible. Both of these are in error. This paper presents an alternative conception of inner-sense, modeled on disjunctive conceptions of perceptual awareness, that avoids both erroneous extremes, but that builds on the commonsense intuitions that motivate (...)
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  • The Neural Basis of Event-Time Introspection.Adrian G. Guggisberg, Sarang S. Dalal, Armin Schnider & Srikantan S. Nagarajan - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1899-1915.
    We explored the neural mechanisms allowing humans to report the subjective onset times of conscious events. Magnetoencephalographic recordings of neural oscillations were obtained while human subjects introspected the timing of sensory, intentional, and motor events during a forced choice task. Brain activity was reconstructed with high spatio-temporal resolution. Event-time introspection was associated with specific neural activity at the time of subjective event onset which was spatially distinct from activity induced by the event itself. Different brain regions were selectively recruited for (...)
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  • The Moral Insignificance of Self‐Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4).
    In this paper, I examine the claim that self-consciousness is highly morally significant, such that the fact that an entity is self-conscious generates strong moral reasons against harming or killing that entity. This claim is apparently very intuitive, but I argue it is false. I consider two ways to defend this claim: one indirect, the other direct. The best-known arguments relevant to self-consciousness's significance take the indirect route. I examine them and argue that in various ways they depend on unwarranted (...)
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  • Self-Consciousness and Intersubjectivity.Kristina Musholt - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 84 (1):63-89.
    This paper distinguishes between implicit self-related information and explicit self-representation and argues that the latter is required for self-consciousness. It is further argued that self-consciousness requires an awareness of other minds and that this awareness develops over the course of an increasingly complex perspectival differentiation, during which information about self and other that is implicit in early forms of social interaction becomes redescribed into an explicit format.
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  • The Unconscious, Consciousness, and the Self Illusion.Michele Di Francesco & Massimo Marraffa - 2013 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 6 (1):10-22.
    In this article we explore the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious as it has taken shape within contemporary cognitive science - meaning by this term the mature cognitive science, which has fully incorporated the results of the neurosciences. In this framework we first compare the neurocognitive unconscious with the Freudian one, emphasizing the similarities and above all the differences between the two constructs. We then turn our attention to the implications of the centrality of unconscious processes in cognitive science (...)
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  • Primary Intersubjectivity: Empathy, Affective Reversibility, 'Self-Affection' and the Primordial 'We'.Anya Daly - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):227-241.
    The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as (...)
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  • Pure Awareness Experience.Brentyn J. Ramm - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    I am aware of the red and orange autumn leaves. Am I aware of my awareness of the leaves? Not so according to many philosophers. By contrast, many meditative traditions report an experience of awareness itself. I argue that such a pure awareness experience must have a non-sensory phenomenal character. I use Douglas Harding’s first-person experiments for assisting in recognizing pure awareness. In particular, I investigate the gap where one cannot see one’s head. This is not a mere gap because (...)
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  • I Me Mine: On a Confusion Concerning the Subjective Character of Experience.Marie Guillot - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology (1):1-31.
    In recent debates on phenomenal consciousness, a distinction is sometimes made, after Levine (2001) and Kriegel (2009), between the “qualitative character” of an experience, i.e. the specific way it feels to the subject (e.g. blueish or sweetish or pleasant), and its “subjective character”, i.e. the fact that there is anything at all that it feels like to her. I argue that much discussion of subjective character is affected by a conflation between three different notions. I start by disentangling the three (...)
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  • Husserl, the Absolute Flow, and Temporal Experience.Christoph Hoerl - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):376-411.
    The notion of the absolute time-constituting flow plays a central role in Edmund Husserl’s analysis of our consciousness of time. I offer a novel reading of Husserl’s remarks on the absolute flow, on which Husserl can be seen to be grappling with two key intuitions that are still at the centre of current debates about temporal experience. One of them is encapsulated by what is sometimes referred to as an intentionalist (as opposed to an extensionalist) approach to temporal experience. The (...)
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  • Self-Defense: Deflecting Deflationary and Eliminativist Critiques of the Sense of Ownership.Shaun Gallagher - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
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  • The Sense of Self in the Phenomenology of Agency and Perception.Jakob Hohwy - 2007 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 13.
    The phenomenology of agency and perception is probably underpinned by a common cognitive system based on generative models and predictive coding. I defend the hypothesis that this cognitive system explains core aspects of the sense of having a self in agency and perception. In particular, this cognitive model explains the phenomenological notion of a minimal self as well as a notion of the narrative self. The proposal is related to some influential studies of overall brain function, and to psychopathology. These (...)
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  • Is Yogācāra Phenomenology? Some Evidence From the Cheng Weishi Lun.Robert Sharf - 2016 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (4):777-807.
    There have been several attempts of late to read Yogācāra through the lens of Western phenomenology. I approach the issue through a reading of the Cheng weishi lun, a seventh-century Chinese compilation that preserves the voices of multiple Indian commentators on Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikāvijñaptikārikā. Specifically, I focus on the “five omnipresent mental factors” and the “four aspects” of cognition. These two topics seem ripe, at least on the surface, for phenomenological analysis, particularly as the latter topic includes a discussion of “self-awareness”. (...)
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  • First-Person Investigations of Consciousness.Brentyn Ramm - 2016 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    This dissertation defends the reliability of first-person methods for studying consciousness, and applies first-person experiments to two philosophical problems: the experience of size and of the self. In chapter 1, I discuss the motivations for taking a first-person approach to consciousness, the background assumptions of the dissertation and some methodological preliminaries. In chapter 2, I address the claim that phenomenal judgements are far less reliable than perceptual judgements (Schwitzgebel, 2011). I argue that the main errors and limitations in making phenomenal (...)
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  • The Many-Worlds Theory of Consciousness.Christian List - manuscript
    This exploratory paper discusses a somewhat heterodox metaphysical theory of consciousness: the “many-worlds theory”. The theory gives up the common assumption that all conscious experiences are features of one and the same world and asserts instead that different conscious subjects are associated with different “first-personally centred worlds”. We can think of these as distinct and “parallel” first-personal realizers of a shared “third-personal world”. This is combined with a form of modal realism, according to which different subjects’ first-personally centred worlds are (...)
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  • Between Minimal Self and Narrative Self: A Husserlian Analysis of Person.Jaakko Belt - 2019 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 50 (4):305-323.
    ABSTRACTThe distinction between minimal self and narrative self has gained ground in recent discussions of selfhood. In this article, this distinction is reassessed by analysing Zahavi and Gallagher’s account of selfhood and supplementing it with Husserl’s concept of person. I argue that Zahavi and Gallagher offer two compatible and complementary notions of self. Nevertheless, the relationship between minimal self and narrative self requires further clarification. Especially the embeddedness of self, the interplay between passivity and activity, and the problems of uniqueness (...)
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  • Natural Reflection, Phenomenological Reflection and Hyperreflexivity.Wenjing Cai - 2018 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 49 (4):308-320.
    ABSTRACTThis paper examines critically the notion of reflection as self-objectification and points out its insufficiency in accounting for the pathological phenomenon of hyperreflexivity. It proposes an understanding of reflection as situated and motivated from within a world and having a normative aspect that concerns the very life of the reflecting person. On this account, the paper argues, on the one hand, that both phenomenological reflection and hyperreflexivity can be viewed as forms of reflection characterized by loss of the world. On (...)
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  • Cognitive Access and Cognitive Phenomenology: Conceptual and Empirical Issues.Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (2):188-204.
    The well-known distinction between access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness has moved away from the conceptual domain into the empirical one, and the debate now is focused on whether the neural mechanisms of cognitive access are constitutive of the neural correlate of phenomenal consciousness. In this paper, I want to analyze the consequences that a negative reply to this question has for the cognitive phenomenology thesis – roughly the claim that there is a “proprietary” phenomenology of thoughts. If the mechanisms responsible (...)
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  • Relations Between Agency and Ownership in the Case of Schizophrenic Thought Insertion and Delusions of Control.Shaun Gallagher - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):865-879.
    This article addresses questions about the sense of agency and its distinction from the sense of ownership in the context of understanding schizophrenic thought insertion. In contrast to “standard” approaches that identify problems with the sense of agency as central to thought insertion, two recent proposals argue that it is more correct to think that the problem concerns the subject’s sense of ownership. This view involves a “more demanding” concept of the sense of ownership that, I will argue, ultimately depends (...)
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  • Plural Self-Awareness.Hans Bernhard Schmid - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):7-24.
    It has been claimed in the literature that collective intentionality and group attitudes presuppose some “sense of ‘us’” among the participants (other labels sometimes used are “sense of community,” “communal awareness,” “shared point of view,” or “we-perspective”). While this seems plausible enough on an intuitive level, little attention has been paid so far to the question of what the nature and role of this mysterious “sense of ‘us’” might be. This paper states (and argues for) the following five claims: (1) (...)
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  • Reflection and Text: Revisiting the Relation Between Pre-Reflective and Reflective Experience. [REVIEW]Wenjing Cai - 2013 - Human Studies 36 (3):339-355.
    The paper presents the prevailing understanding of pre-reflective and reflective experience as a “data-description model”. According to this model, pre-reflective experience is the original datum, the meaning of which is fully determined in the very beginning, whereas reflection is a secondary layer that purports to recover faithfully the meaning of the pre-reflective. The paper spells out the difficulty of this model by looking into the scepticism on reflection. Despite its contribution to explicating the basic level of human consciousness, the data-description (...)
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  • Medieval Approaches to Consciousness: Ockham and Chatton.Susan Brower-Toland - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-29.
    My aim in this paper is to advance our understanding of medieval approaches to consciousness by focusing on a particular but, as it seems to me, representative medieval debate. The debate in question is between William Ockham and Walter Chatton over the existence of what these two thinkers refer to as “reflexive intellective intuitive cognition”. Although framed in the technical terminology of late-medieval cognitive psychology, the basic question at issue between them is this: Does the mind (or “intellect”) cognize its (...)
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  • The Trans-Species Core SELF: The Emergence of Active Cultural and Neuro-Ecological Agents Through Self-Related Processing Within Subcortical-Cortical Midline Networks.Jaak Panksepp & Georg Northoff - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):193–215.
    The nature of “the self” has been one of the central problems in philosophy and more recently in neuroscience. This raises various questions: Can we attribute a self to animals? Do animals and humans share certain aspects of their core selves, yielding a trans-species concept of self? What are the neural processes that underlie a possible trans-species concept of self? What are the developmental aspects and do they result in various levels of self-representation? Drawing on recent literature from both human (...)
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  • Who Am I in Out of Body Experiences? Implications From OBEs for the Explanandum of a Theory of Self-Consciousness.Glenn Carruthers - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):183-197.
    Contemporary theories of self-consciousness typically begin by dividing experiences of the self into types, each requiring separate explanation. The stereotypical case of an out of body experience may be seen to suggest a distinction between the sense of oneself as an experiencing subject, a mental entity, and a sense of oneself as an embodied person, a bodily entity. Point of view, in the sense of the place from which the subject seems to experience the world, in this case is tied (...)
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  • Self-Consciousness in Non-Communicative Patients.Steven Laureys, Fabien Perrin & Serge Brédart - 2007 - Consciousness and Cognition 16 (3):722-741.
    The clinical and para-clinical examination of residual self-consciousness in non-communicative severely brain damaged patients remains exceptionally challenging. Passive presentation of the patient’s own name and own face are known to be effective attention-grabbing stimuli when clinically assessing consciousness at the patient’s bedside. Event-related potential and functional neuroimaging studies using such self-referential stimuli are currently being used to disentangle the cognitive hierarchy of self-processing. We here review neuropsychological, neuropathological, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies using the own name and own face paradigm obtained (...)
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  • Impaired Self-Reflection in Psychiatric Disorders Among Adults: A Proposal for the Existence of a Network of Semi Independent Functions.Giancarlo Dimaggio, Stijn Vanheule, Paul H. Lysaker, Antonino Carcione & Giuseppe Nicolò - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (3):653-664.
    Self-reflection plays a key role in healthy human adaptation. Self-reflection might involve different capacities which may be impaired to different degrees relatively independently of one another. Variation in abilities for different forms of self-reflection are commonly seen as key aspects of many adult mental disorders. Yet little has been written about whether there are different kinds of deficits in self-reflection found in mental illness, how those deficits should be distinguished from one another and how to characterize the extent to which (...)
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