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Self-consciousness and nonconceptual content

Musholt, Kristina (2013) Self-consciousness and nonconceptual content. Philosophical Studies, 163 (3). pp. 649-672. ISSN 0031-8116

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Abstract

Self-consciousness can be defined as the ability to think ‘I’-thoughts. Recently, it has been suggested that self-consciousness in this sense can (and should) be accounted for in terms of nonconceptual forms of self-representation. Here, I will argue that while theories of nonconceptual self-consciousness do provide us with important insights regarding the essential genetic and epistemic features of self-conscious thought, they can only deliver part of the full story that is required to understand the phenomenon of self-consciousness. I will provide two arguments to this effect, drawing on insights from the philosophy of language and on structural differences between conceptual and nonconceptual forms of representation. Both arguments rest on the intuition that while self-consciousness requires explicit self-representation, nonconceptual content can at best provide implicit self-related information. I will conclude that in order to explain the emergence of self-conscious thought out of more basic forms of representation one has to explain the transition between implicit self-related information and explicit self-representation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/0031-8116/
Additional Information: © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2011 12:03
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/40210/

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