Knowing and owning a body
For each of us there is one body which is special, different from all other bodies: the body one conceives of and experiences as one's own. The principal aim of this thesis is to understand what this conception and experience amounts to, and why it matters. I address three main topics: (1) body awareness, body ownership, and the immunity to errors of misidentification of judgements which refer to a body as 'my body' or 'mine'; (2) spatial perception and the knowledge of location we take it to afford; (3) the conceptual problem of other minds and the nature of the basic emotions. Through consideration of these topics, I propose that the conception and experience one has of a body as one's own is as of a recognisably human body. This is so in two ways. I argue that what makes a body one's own is that one is aware of it 'from the inside'. Given this, one can also experience a body as one's own through the outer senses. So the first way that the conception and experience one has of a body as one's own is as of a recognisably human body is that it is human in physical appearance, like the bodies of others. I also argue that the basic emotions are bodily states that one can be aware of from the inside, and in this sense feel or experience. This solves the conceptual problem of other minds. For it makes it possible to understand how the very same type of psychological state one can feel or experience oneself, one can also observe in others. It also provides the second way that the conception and experience one has of a body as one's own is as of a recognisably human body: one experiences one's own body, as much as the bodies of others, as subject to the basic emotions, and so as human in psychology. I conclude by suggesting that this account of one's conception and experience of a body as one's own and as recognisably human points to a perceptual-demonstrative model of self-consciousness and self-reference: in basic cases, T means 'this human'.