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By Dan Zahavi

Are you able to be a self by yourself or purely including others? Is selfhood a integrated characteristic of expertise or relatively socially developed? How will we in any respect come to appreciate others? Does empathy quantity to and make allowance for a special experiential acquaintance with others, and if this is the case, what does that let us know concerning the nature of selfhood and social cognition? Does a powerful emphasis at the first-personal personality of Read more...

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Dan Zahavi engages with classical phenomenology, philosophy of brain, and a number of empirical disciplines to discover the character of selfhood. He argues that the main primary point of selfhood is Read more...

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Extra resources for Self and other : exploring subjectivity, empathy, and shame

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The for-me-ness of experience refers to the first-personal character of experience, to the fact that our acquaintance with our own experiential life differs from the acquaintance we have with the experiential life of others and vice versa. This difference in acquaintance or access obtains, not only when we reflect or introspect, but whenever we pre-reflectively live through an experience. At its most primitive, self-experience is simply a question of being pre-reflectively aware of one’s own consciousness, and the experiential self in question is precisely defined as the very subjectivity of experience.

It is the occurrence of the higher-order representation that makes us conscious of the first-order mental state. In short, a conscious state is a state we are conscious of (Rosenthal 1997: 739). Higher-order theories have consequently typically explained phenomenal consciousness in terms of the mind’s self-directedness, that is, in terms of some kind of self-consciousness. As Carruthers puts it, ‘such selfawareness is a conceptually necessary condition for an organism to be a subject of phenomenal feelings, or for there to be anything that its experiences are like’ (Carruthers 1996a: 152; compare Carruthers 1996a: 154).

To some extent, one simply has to be aware of the ambiguity of the term. 30 THE EXPERIENTIAL SELF implication counts in favour of the view rather than against it. But we need to recall not only how thin and basic a notion of self-consciousness I am employing, but also the preceding arguments defending the constitutive link between self-consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. 6 For many thinkers (and this includes Aristotle, Descartes, Arnauld, Locke, Brentano, Husserl, Sartre, Gurwitsch, Merleau-Ponty, Henry, and Henrich) self-consciousness in this specific sense of the term is an integral part of experience; it is something that is possessed by all conscious mental states since all conscious states are necessarily experientially manifest, or, to phrase it differently, a mental state lacking this kind of self-consciousness would be a non-conscious state.

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