The Minimal Subject

Galen Strawson

in The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199548019
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 The Minimal Subject

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Metaphysics


Show Summary Details


This article examines the metaphysics and phenomenology of the self or subject of experience. It suggests that the phenomenological description of the minimal subject requires no reference to body, environment, or social relations and argues for a thin conception of subjectivity which equates the subject with the experience itself. Under this principle of minimal conception, the subject does not exist if the person (or human animal) is asleep (unconscious). It contends that the profound metaphysical question about experience and experiential selves is whether experience is limited to certain types of physical processes, or is characteristic of all physical processes, which would entail panpsychism.

Keywords: self; subject of experience; metaphysics; phenomenology; conception of subjectivity; physical processes; panpsychism

Article.  11660 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind ; Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.