Reference to the notion of self plays a crucial role in a multitude of areas in philosophy and in social and human sciences; arguably most important, the notion of self seems to be an indispensable and central concept of the common-sense view of the world. It is the concept of an entity that, despite being extremely elusive and difficult to explicate, is the most fundamental piece of our mental life, something that makes all the rest of it possible. Despite this centrality, there is no consensus on what the self is, or even on its very existence. In this book, we offer a theory of the self (which is at the same time a theory of self-consciousness, as will be clarified over the course of the book), whose core ideas are that (1) the self is a process, a psychobiological system activity of self-representing, and (2) this process aims mainly at defending the self-conscious subject against the threat of its metaphysi- cal inconsistence. In other words, the self is essentially a repertoire of psychological maneuvers whose outcome is a self-representation aimed at coping with the fundamental fragility of the human subject. It is a constructive process that starts in the very early stages of our life and runs unceasingly throughout our entire life. Our picture of the self differs from both the idealist and the eliminative approaches widely represented in contemporary discussion. Against the idealist approach, we deny that the self is something primitive and logi- cally prior: a mental entity describable as the owner of its own mental states. Rather, we take it to be the result of a process of construction that starts with subpersonal unconscious processes. On the other hand, we also reject the anti-realistic, eliminative argument that, from the non- primary, derivative nature of the self, infers its status as an illusory by- product of real neurobiological events, devoid of any explanatory role. Our approach is then both derivative and realistic.

The Self and Its Defenses. From Psychodynamics to Cognitive Science

Di Francesco M;
2016

Abstract

Reference to the notion of self plays a crucial role in a multitude of areas in philosophy and in social and human sciences; arguably most important, the notion of self seems to be an indispensable and central concept of the common-sense view of the world. It is the concept of an entity that, despite being extremely elusive and difficult to explicate, is the most fundamental piece of our mental life, something that makes all the rest of it possible. Despite this centrality, there is no consensus on what the self is, or even on its very existence. In this book, we offer a theory of the self (which is at the same time a theory of self-consciousness, as will be clarified over the course of the book), whose core ideas are that (1) the self is a process, a psychobiological system activity of self-representing, and (2) this process aims mainly at defending the self-conscious subject against the threat of its metaphysi- cal inconsistence. In other words, the self is essentially a repertoire of psychological maneuvers whose outcome is a self-representation aimed at coping with the fundamental fragility of the human subject. It is a constructive process that starts in the very early stages of our life and runs unceasingly throughout our entire life. Our picture of the self differs from both the idealist and the eliminative approaches widely represented in contemporary discussion. Against the idealist approach, we deny that the self is something primitive and logi- cally prior: a mental entity describable as the owner of its own mental states. Rather, we take it to be the result of a process of construction that starts with subpersonal unconscious processes. On the other hand, we also reject the anti-realistic, eliminative argument that, from the non- primary, derivative nature of the self, infers its status as an illusory by- product of real neurobiological events, devoid of any explanatory role. Our approach is then both derivative and realistic.
978-1-137-57384-1
Self (theory of); Self-consciousness; Cognitive science
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/1799
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