Phenomenology and Metaphysics: Self‐Experience and Self‐Consciousness

Galen Strawson

in Selves

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780198250067
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191712593 | DOI:
 Phenomenology and Metaphysics: Self‐Experience and Self‐Consciousness

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This chapter takes up the proposal about the minimal form of self-experience in order to consider the relation between self-experience and self-consciousness. Does self-consciousness require or presuppose self-experience? It presents the case for answering No, while acknowledging that the two things go naturally together. It puts the case for Yes, and tentatively endorses it. The chapter then asks the converse question: Does self-experience require or presuppose self-consciousness? If the answer is Yes, then all the grounds or conditions of self-consciousness are also grounds or conditions of self-experience, and the absorbing and time-honoured task of trying to work out the grounds or conditions of self-consciousness becomes part of the task of giving a general account of self-experience. However, there are grounds for thinking that the best answer to the second question is No. There is nevertheless a natural understanding of what self-experience is that delivers the answer Yes, and on this basis the chapter goes ahead with the task of considering the grounds or conditions of self-consciousness. On the whole the chapter is more about metaphysics than phenomenology, but metaphysical and phenomenological concerns sometimes run close.

Keywords: self-consciousness; self-experience; metaphysics; phenomenology; minimal form

Chapter.  35612 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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