Kantian Reflections on the Givenness of Zahavi’s Minimal Experiential Self

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (5):619-625 (2015)
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At the core of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason was a decisive break with certain fundamental Cartesian assumptions or claims about consciousness and self-consciousness, claims that have nonetheless remained perennially tempting, from a phenomenological perspective, independently of any further questions concerning the metaphysics of mind and its place in nature. The core of this philosophical problem has recently been helpfully exposed and insightfully probed in Dan Zahavi’s book, Self and Other: Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame. In these remarks I suggest that Zahavi’s view of what he calls ‘The Experiential Self’ defends precisely the sorts of claims to which a Kantian account of consciousness is fundamentally opposed, and while assessing the overall merits of the two contrasting outlooks is no easy matter, I side with the Kantian view

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James O'Shea
University College Dublin


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