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Title:Self -Awareness and Self -Interpretation
Author(s):Simon, M.G.Julia S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Richard Schacht
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation examines the phenomenology of self-awareness in an attempt to get clear on the nature of our 'basic sense of self'. I argue that our self-understanding is typically muddled by a prevalent but false metaphysical view that I refer to as 'the quasi-Cartesian view'. I begin with a diagnosis of this quasi-Cartesian view of the self and self-awareness, and argue that there are two main reasons for one might hold this view: on the one hand, we may have our phenomenology colored by false metaphysical preconceptions; on the other, we may end up holding this view as a result of commitments held in the philosophy of mind. I try to cure us of this view by showing that it is neither defensible when presented with counter-arguments, nor fits the phenomenological data of our own experience. I next develop a positive account of what our basic sense of self is like when we have shed the distorting quasi-Cartesian preconceptions. I argue that in basic experience, we experience ourselves as bodily agents; moreover, I develop a transcendental argument to the effect that we must be embodied agents in order for us to have the kinds of experience that we do have. I next turn to an examination of the Heideggerian claim that we are self-interpreting animals in part constituted by our own self-interpretations in an attempt to determine the truth as well as the scope of this claim. My conclusion is that we can truthfully be said to be partly constituted by our own self-interpretations, but that we have but a limited authority as to the 'rightness' of an interpretation. Thus there are strict limits to our ability to be self-constituting.
Issue Date:2003
Description:236 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3101971
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2003

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