New materialism and postmodern subject models fail to explain human memory and self-awareness: A comment on Tobias-Renstrøm and Køppe (2020)

Theory & Psychology 31 (1):130-137 (2020)
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Tobias-Renstrøm and Køppe (2020) show the several conceptual limits that new materialism and postmodern subject models have for psychological theory and research. The present study continues in this discussion and argues that the applicability of the ideas of quantum-inspired new materialism depends on the theoretical perspectives that we consider for analysis: be it the first-person perspective referring to the subjective experience of a human subject, or the third-person perspective, in which a human subject is observed by an external observer. While the arguments of new materialism are in accordance with the analysis of the act of observation performed by an external observer, some problems arise when trying to theoretically approach the first-person subjective experience of a human subject. For example, new materialism fails to explain why human minds can maintain the awareness of a subject’s identity throughout their lives and to recall the memories about their past personal experiences.

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Radek Trnka
Prague College Of Psychosocial Studies


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