Practical Realism about the Self

In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Kevin Corcoran (eds.), Common Sense Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of Lynne Rudder Baker. New York, NY: Routledge (2020)
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In Explaining Attitudes, Baker argues that we should treat our everyday practices as relevant to metaphysical debates, resulting in a stance of realism with respect to intentional explanations. In this chapter I will argue that if one is going to be a practical realist about anything, it should be the self, or subject of attention. I will use research on attention combined with the stance of practical realism to argue in favor of a substantive self. That is, I will present an account of the self that directs and controls attention, in line with our everyday view of the self. I will contrast this account with what I call the “illusion view,” which presents the self and its apparent causal power in the case of attention as an illusion. My account of the self will make use of several of Baker's ideas, including non-reductive materialism and broad supervenience.

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Carolyn Dicey Jennings
University of California, Merced


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