Whilst the sense of ownership would, presumably, be accounted for by an introspective awareness of the self, it can also arguably be explained with the more minimal commitments of the implicit view. Thus the focus on the sense of ownership might be thought to provide a minimal answer to Humean scepticism about self-perception.
As Chisholm points out, for example, although Hume complained that he could find no self in introspection, he reported his findings in first-personal terms. That is, he was aware not only of his mental states, but also aware of them as his own Chisholm ch.
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For example, Zahavi and Kriegel ; cf. Kriegel , ; Zahavi defend a non-reductive understanding of the sense of ownership as a distinct aspect of the phenomenal character of experience.
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It is sometimes claimed that the variety of ways in which self-consciousness can break down poses a challenge to the claim that the sense of ownership is a universal characteristic of experience e. Thought insertion, anarchic hand, alien limb, anonymous memory, and anonymous vision, all seemingly involve subjects who are aware of their own conscious states, actions, or body parts, but without being aware of them as their own for references, see the supplement: The Scope of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification.
They may disown them or attribute them to others. For example, in cases of thought insertion, a symptom of schizophrenia, subjects report that they are aware of the thoughts of other people or objects entering their own minds see, for example, Saks ch. On the assumption that such subjects are actually aware of what are, in fact, their own thoughts, this might seem to be a case of a conscious experience that lacks the sense of ownership.
Thus, either the sense of ownership is not a necessary feature of experience, or perhaps there is no sense of ownership at all see, for example, Chadha The sense of agency is the awareness of being the source or the agent of some action or activity, including mental agency. According to this standard view, cases of thought insertion or anarchic hand, for example, can be wholly explained by postulating a lack of a sense of agency. The usual sense of being the agent of a thought is lacking, but the sense of ownership remains since the thought seems to the subject be taking place in their own mind.
The sense of location might be understood as being possessed if one is aware of a mental state in the ordinary way, i.
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Crucial, it would seem, for evaluating the significance of thought insertion and related cases, and so of the standard view, will be determining which, if any, of the senses of agency, ownership, or location remain intact. For it might be argued that what such subjects retain is in fact the sense of location, rather than the sense of ownership.
Much of the philosophical work on self-consciousness concerns its relation to a variety of other phenomena. These include the nature of personhood, rationality, consciousness, and the awareness of other minds. On such a view, self-consciousness is essential to personhood. II, chs. Strawson b; Snowdon ch. As such, Locke considers the capacity for self-conscious thinking to be a necessary condition of personhood. What is less clear is whether, on this view, self-consciousness is sufficient for personhood. One reason for doubt on this score is that since it is concerned with self-conscious thought the account provides no reason to suppose that creatures that enjoy non-conceptual self-consciousness are persons.
A second is that the requirement of being able to reidentify oneself over time is not one that we need consider met by all self-conscious creatures for, we can suppose, it is possible for a self-conscious subject to lack the conceptual sophistication to understand the past and future tense. A subject with second-order volitions has the capacity to evaluate their first-order desires and this, it would seem, involves being aware of them as potentially their own.
Thus persons, thought of as subjects with second-order volitions, are self-conscious for discussion, see Watson ; Dennett ; Frankfurt ; Bratman chs. An account of persons that would appear to distance that notion from self-consciousness is that offered by P. Strawson in chapter 3 of Individuals ,. Strawson Strawson argues that the primitiveness of the concept of a person is a necessary condition of the possibility of self-consciousness P.
Strawson 98— This rules out Cartesian dualism, since ascribing states of consciousness to others requires that one be able to identify others, and one cannot identify pure subjects of experience or Cartesian egos. Two prominent members of this familiar are the claim that. That is, there is no way of characterising memory and the other psychological phenomena relevant to personal identity without invoking the identity of the person whose memory it is. As McDowell puts it,. Is self-consciousness a necessary condition of rationality?
A number of philosophers have argued that rationality requires self-knowledge which itself implies self-consciousness see Shoemaker , ; Burge ; Moran ; Bilgrami ; Boyle , ; for a general discussion of this approach to self-knowledge, see Gertler ch. In his case against perceptual theories of self-knowledge, Shoemaker argues against the possibility of self-blindness; against, that it is, the possibility that a rational creature with all the necessary concepts might be simply unaware of its own sensations, beliefs, and so on.
A rational creature that is in pain, Shoemaker argues, will typically desire to be rid of her pain, and this requires that she believe that she is in pain. As Shoemaker puts it, to see rational responses to pain. Shoemaker This belief, that she is in pain, is a self-conscious one; it is a belief that she herself is in pain.
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The connection between rationality and self-knowledge and so self-consciousness , Shoemaker argues, is even more pronounced in the case of our awareness of our own beliefs. Rational subjects should abide by certain strictures on the contents of their beliefs, updating them in line with new evidence, removing inconsistencies, and so on. And this, Shoemaker argues, requires that they not be self-blind with respect to their beliefs.
It requires that they are self-conscious. As Shoemaker writes,. Burge focuses on the notion of the critical reasoner. He writes,.
Burge 97; for a fuller argument for the same conclusion, see Burge This is for the reason that belief involves commitments and such commitments involve meeting certain standards—providing reasons, reevaluating where necessary, and so on. Here the focus is not so much on critical reasoning but rather practical deliberation as that which requires self-consciousness. A central concern of hers is to distinguish between the sort of action of which all animals are capable and the sort of autonomous agency of which we self-conscious subjects are capable.
It is the latter that is constitutive of autonomous, deliberative action understood from the perspective of practical reason. As she writes,. Korsgaard When we become conscious of the workings of an incentive within us, the incentive is experienced not as a force or a necessity but as a proposal, something we need to make a decision about. Self-awareness, on these views, is a necessary condition of rationality conceived as the capacity for critical reasoning or practical deliberation. Burge also makes it clear that he regards the capacity for critical reasoning to be a necessary condition of conceptual self-consciousness, since to master and self-ascribe psychological concepts such as belief, once must be able to recognise their role in reasoning, and so employ them Burge 97, n.
As he puts it,. Burge The claim that there is a constitutive connection between self-consciousness and rationality has been met with scepticism by Kornblith , ch. Rationally revising beliefs in the face of evidence, Kornblith is keen to point out, is a capacity enjoyed by non-reflective animals. He further presents the rationalist view with a challenge: if one thinks that first-order beliefs are not themselves responsive to reason, how does adding second-order beliefs help?
Williams ; Smithies Since self-consciousness is itself a form of consciousness, consciousness is, of course, a necessary condition of it.
But is self-consciousness necessary for consciousness? Positive answers to this question come in both reductive and non-reductive varieties. One way in which consciousness might entail self-consciousness is if the former is reducible to the latter. A natural assumption is that this higher order state is distinct from that which it represents. Since, however, we can be aware that someone else is in some conscious state, it seems that simply being aware that a thought is occurring is insufficient to render that thought conscious.
Arguably, what is required is that one be aware that one is in the relevant first-order state. That is, one represents oneself as being in the state in question. Since this seems to involve a form of self-awareness, the HOT and HOP theories can be understood as holding that consciousness entails self-consciousness Gennaro Given this, it is natural to think of the distinction between HOT and HOP theories of consciousness as closely related to that between conceptual and non-conceptual self-consciousness.
Such accounts are higher-order views that deny that the first and second-order states are distinct. As with both HOT and HOP, self-representationalism can be thought of as supporting the view that a form of self-consciousness is a necessary condition of consciousness. Kapitan Aristotle, considering a version of the HOP theory, argued that the view suffered from a regress problem since the higher-order perception must itself be conscious and so be accompanied by a HOP, which would itself be conscious, and so on De Anima 3.
The standard way to diffuse such a worry is to deny that the higher order state, be it perception or thought, need be conscious. An alternative, of course, is to endorse a self-representational account. There are other objections to higher order views, however, each of which applies to one or more versions of the view.
They include worries about the possibility of objectless and non-veridical higher order states Byrne ; Block , about whether it can account for the conscious states of infants and non-humans Dretske ch. As such, higher-order and self-representational theories of consciousness, that posit a necessary connection between consciousness and self-consciousness, are far from being established.
If consciousness cannot be reduced to self-consciousness, perhaps the latter is nevertheless a necessary condition of the former. A different non-reductive, and broadly Kantian, argument for the claim that self-consciousness is a necessary condition of consciousness first of all claims that conscious experience is necessarily unified and, second, that this unity of consciousness in turn depends on self-awareness.
One reason for supposing that there is a connection between self-consciousness and the unity of consciousness is given by Kant, who writes,. As Kant famously puts it,. On this view, it is the unity of the self that guarantees that co-conscious experiences are jointly self-ascribable; that unity requires self-consciousness there is a question as to whether self-consciousness is here supposed to explain the unity of consciousness; cf. This Kantian picture is associated with the claim that unified self-consciousness requires a conception of the world as objective; as transcending the perspective that one has on it.
The claim that the unity of consciousness requires self-consciousness can be criticised in a number of different ways.
How one evaluates the claim will depend on whether one has conceptual or non-conceptual self-consciousness in mind. As Bayne points out, the claim that the unity of consciousness requires that one possess the concept of oneself seems, implausibly, to imply that conceptually unsophisticated infants and non-human animals could not possess a unified stream of consciousness of course, this worry applies quite generally to views that connect consciousness with self-consciousness.
1. Self-Consciousness in the History of Philosophy
The concern is addressed to the view that self-consciousness is not merely a necessary condition of the unity of consciousness but is that in virtue of which it is unified. For if the self-ascription of experiences is taken to be that which is responsible for the unity of consciousness, how can we account for the fact that the self-conscious thoughts are themselves unified with the first-order experiences that they supposedly unify? As Hurley puts it,. To appeal to the third-order self-ascription of the self-conscious thought would appear to invite a regress.
What is the connection between self-consciousness and the awareness of others? On some views self-consciousness requires awareness of others, on another view the awareness of others requires self-consciousness. A familiar account of our knowledge of others takes the form of an argument from analogy Slote ch. On this picture, self-awareness, as manifest in the judgement about my own case, is a necessary condition of knowledge of other minds. In this respect the view is related to contemporary simulation theory, standard versions of which see our capacity to attribute mental states to others as dependent on our capacity to attribute them to ourselves Heal ; Goldman ch.
Associated with the argument from analogy is a view according to which our grasp of mental state concepts is an essentially first-personal affair. In opposition to this package stand views on which our grasp and application of mental state concepts is neutral between the first and third-person cases. Theory theorists, for example, claim that we attribute mental states to both ourselves and others by means of a tacitly held psychological theory.
They may also hold that possession of such a theory constitutes our grasp of mental state concepts Carruthers , ch. While such views accord no priority to the first-person case, they may see a tight connection between self-consciousness and our capacity to think about others: these are simply two aspects of the more general capacity to think about the mind. Stern part II. On such a view the first-person case is treated as secondary, reversing the traditional picture associated with the argument from analogy. A more ambitious version of this approach to the relationship between self-consciousness and awareness of others, prioritizing the awareness of others, is to argue that knowledge of other minds is a necessary condition of the possibility of self-consciousness.
Well known examples of such arguments can be found in the work of P. Strawson ch. Since knowledge of other minds is typically considered to be open to sceptical doubt, and self-consciousness is not, such lines of reasoning are transcendental arguments and so potentially open to general criticisms of that form of argument Stroud ; R.
Stern , Strawson 99; cf. In short, we must have knowledge of others' minds if we are self-conscious for the full argument, see P. Strawson ff; for critical discussion, see R. Stern ch. At its heart is the claim that for my thoughts to have determinate content there must exist another subject who is able to interpret me. As Davidson puts it,. Davidson — Since self-conscious subjects are aware of the contents of their thoughts, they must know that there are other minds, since the sort of intersubjective externalism that Davidson endorses guarantees it.
Self-knowledge, on this view, entails knowledge of others for discussion, see R. At what age can human infants be credited with self-consciousness? Is self-consciousness present beyond homo sapiens? Others, for example Rosenthal , claim that phenomenal consciousness entails self-consciousness. If either view is correct then self-consciousness, of some kind, can plausibly be attributed to creatures other than adult humans.
But when it comes to more sophisticated forms of self-awareness, matters are less clear. What is required is some empirical criterion for judging a creature self-conscious even if, as with infants and non-human animals, they are unable to provide evidence via their use of the first-person pronoun. It is easy to see why this might seem to be so since, if first-person thought involves thinking about oneself as oneself , then it is natural to suppose that a capacity to recognise that a subject seen in a mirror is oneself involves such a thought.
With respect to human infants, the consensus is that success in the mirror test begins at around 15 to 18 months of age, and that by 24 months most children pass Amsterdam ; M. It is not universally accepted, however, that success in the mirror test is an indication of self-consciousness. For example, Heyes presents an influential critique of the claim that it is a marker of self-awareness, arguing that all that is required for success is that subjects be able to distinguish between novel ways of receiving bodily feedback in order to guide behaviour, on the one hand, and other forms of incoming sensory data, on the other.
Such a view, however, needs to explain why it is that passing the mirror test seems to be connected with the phenomena arguably associated with self-consciousness, such as experiencing shame and embarrassment M. Lewis Another potential marker of self-consciousness is episodic memory, the capacity that we have to recollect particular episodes from our own past experience see Tulving ; Michaelian ; entry on memory.
If it is correct that episodic memory essentially involves a form of self-consciousness, and we are able to test for the presence of episodic memory in non-linguistic infants and animals, then we have a way of detecting the presence of self-conscious abilities. Since, however, episodic memory is not the only form of self-consciousness, the lack of it does not indicate that a creature is not self-aware. Indeed, the much discussed case of K.
For example whilst most 3 year old infants can remember presented information, most are unreliable when it comes to the question of how they know—did they see it, hear it, etc. The suggestion here is that the development of the reliable capacity to report how they know some fact reflects the development of the capacity to episodically remember the learning event. Another body of research pertaining to the question of self-consciousness in infants and non-human animals is the work on metacognition and metamemory.
Smith ; Beran et al. The suggestion is that if a creature is able to monitor their own level of confidence, they are to that extent self-conscious. One common paradigm for testing metacognitive abilities involves presenting subjects with a stimulus that they must categorise in one of two ways. Crucially, they are also given the opportunity to opt out of the test, with correct categorisation resulting in the highest reward, opting out resulting in a lower reward, and incorrect categorisation resulting in no reward. The assumption is that the opt-out response reflects a meta-cognitive judgement of uncertainty.
Evidence gathered from such a paradigm has been taken to show metacognitive abilities in some birds Fujita et. Smith et. The view that success on metacognitive opt-out tests is indicative of self-consciousness is not uncontroversial, however. On such an interpretation, the research on metacognition does not provide compelling evidence regarding self-consciousness in infants and non-human animals but for critical discussion see J. Smith ; J. The question of the significance of opt-out tests for attributions of self-consciousness remains controversial.
Read at the Philosophy Department, University of Hamburg Read at a conference 'Early Modern Thought, '. University of Sydney Read at a conference 'Person. Read at Boston University Read at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Pre-Kantian Theories in Germany'. Read at the annual conference of the Australasian Society for the History of Philosophy Cambridge Platonism and the Problem of Consciousness'.
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