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Title: Bodily awareness and the elusive self : an investigation
Author: Evans, G. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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My dissertation examines two apparently opposing views – the well-established view that the self (is systematically elusive (the “Elusiveness Thesis” or “ET”), and the more recent claim that bodily awareness “from the inside” can amount to perceptual self-awareness. I introduce these distinctions: Broad Self-Consciousness is awareness of the thing one is “as me”; this just means awareness of one’s body in a way immune to error through misidentification. Narrow Self-Consciousness is awareness of the thing one is as a subject. In turn, there are two possible conceptions of “subject” here – oneself as a point of view on the world (Self (PoV)), and oneself as the bearer of psychological properties (I call that Self (Psych)). The main claims I defend are: (1) There seems no principled basis for the Self as subject to be regarded as systematically elusive. On the other hand, recent arguments that bodily awareness amounts to Narrow Self-Consciousness have not been made out either; (2) However bodily awareness does amount to Broad Self-Consciousness. In Chapter 3 I examine and endorse an old argument (resurrected by Shoemaker) that self-consciousness cannot just be a matter of reflexive awareness of an object (and a fortiori this applies to awareness of one’s body). In Chapters 4 and 5 I discuss the grounds upon which one might claim the self as subject to by systematically elusive. In Chapter 6 I consider whether bodily awareness does indeed present the body as an object. In Chapter 7 I consider whether the Bodily Self Thesis is made out in the Broad, “as me” sense. In Chapter 8 I look at what I take to be the best prospect for the Bodily Self Claim in the Narrow, “as subject” sense. The best prospect here is bodily sensation, specifically the claim that in bodily sensation one is presented with oneself as the bodily subject of sensation. I argue that this fails.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available