I Am Mine: From Phenomenology of Self-Awareness to Metaphysics of Selfhood

Belgrade Philosophical Annual 36 (1):67-85 (2023)
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Abstract

I aim to show that, contrary to standard deflationary or eliminativist theories of the self, we can argue from the phenomenology of pre-reflective self-awareness for the thesis that subjects of experience are substances. The phenomenological datum of subjectivity points to a specific metaphysical structure of our experience, that is, towards the substance view rather than the bundle or the minimal self view. Drawing on modern philosophical accounts of pre-reflective self-awareness, mineness and (self-) acquaintance, I will argue that a subject is aware of being the one individual who has many experiences and that it is revealed to the subject that it is the bearer of experiences and their unifier. The subject is present in pre-reflective awareness and known as the subject of experiences, and even this minimal self-awareness gives us reason to favour the substance view. Thus, one can demonstrate how the debates on the phenomenology of pre-reflective self-awareness and the metaphysics of selfhood intersect.

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Janko Nešić
University of Belgrade

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