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Mirror self‐recognition and self‐identification

Boyle, Alexandria ORCID: 0000-0001-8827-5479 (2018) Mirror self‐recognition and self‐identification. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 97 (2). 284 - 303. ISSN 0031-8205

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Identification Number: 10.1111/phpr.12370


That great apes are the only primates to recognise their reflections is often taken to show that they are self-aware—however, there has been much recent debate about whether the self-awareness in question is psychological or bodily self-awareness. This paper argues that whilst self-recognition does not require psychological self-awareness, to claim that it requires only bodily self-awareness would leave something out. That is that self-recognition requires ‘objective self-awareness’—the capacity for first person thoughts like ‘that's me’, which involve self-identification and so are vulnerable to error through misidentification. This objective self-awareness is distinct from bodily or psychological self-awareness, requires cognitive sophistication and provides the beginnings of a more conceptual self-representation which might play a role in planning, mental time travel and theory of mind.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LLC
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2024 22:15

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