The No‐Self Alternative

Thomas Metzinger

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 No‐Self Alternative

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This article explores the ‘no-self alternative’ in the debate on the metaphysical and phenomenological concept of the self. It suggests that the no-self alternative may not be an alternative at all and it could simply be the default assumption for all rational approaches to self-consciousness and subjectivity. It outlines several different anti-realist arguments about the self and explains why the idea that there are no selves is counter-intuitive. It shows why the intuitions of phenomenology are traceable to the contingent fact about the causal structure of our brains, which induces in each of us a first-person perspective that makes it difficult to deny the existence of selves.

Keywords: no-self alternative; self; self-consciousness; subjectivity; brains; first-person perspective

Article.  8138 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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