Cross-modality and the self

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Abstract
The thesis of this paper is that the capacity to think of one’s perceptions as cross-modally integrated is incompatible with a reductionist account of the self. In §2 I distinguish three versions of the argument from cross-modality. According to the ‘unification’ version of the argument, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity to identify an object touched as the same as an object simultaneously seen. According to the ‘recognition’ version, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity, having once seen an object, to reidentify that same object by touch alone. According to the ‘objectivity’ version, what needs to be explained is one’s capacity to think of one’s perceptions in different modalities as perceptions of one and the same object. The third version seems to establish that one must conceive of oneself substantially, as the numerically identical owner of one’s experiences, a conclusion in agreement with recent work in developmental psychology claiming to show that an infant’s cross-modal capacities are essentially implicated in their development of a sense of self. There is further work to be done if this is to be tumed into an argument against reductionism: there is no swift route from the epistemology of self-consciousness to the metaphysics of the self. In the §3, I will claim that there is, nevertheless, an argument linking the two. What I propose is an argument derived, not from the token-reflexive rule for the first-person, but resting on its anaphoric behaviour spanning intensional operators.
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Archival date: 2015-10-02
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2009-01-28

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