SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Why Language Matters for Self-Awareness: The Conceptual and the Narrative Route
(Plenary Lecture, English, Location: HS E.002)

Language can be used for communication but also in cognition when one forms discursive thoughts. That observation leads to the suggestion that language may also have a formative influence on our reflective self-awareness. But how exactly should we understand that influence? In this talk I will examine two routes one can take in answering that question. The first line takes its inspiration from the idea that one acquires a self-concept by acquiring the competence to use the first-person pronoun. This proposal has much to be said for it, but it also has its limits. It leaves us in the dark about the way in which a linguistic self-concept differs from a self-file or a self-notion that may be constructed without employing linguistic means. The question then arises whether we can do better by following a second line. According to the narrative approach, self-awareness takes a reflective turn when one learns to see oneself as the protagonist in a story. I will argue that the idea of a ''narrative self'' can be developed without implying strong - and implausible - claims about self-constitution that are often associated with this idea.

Chair: Albert Anglberger
Time: 17:00-18:30, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: HS E.002

Johannes L. Brandl 
(University of Salzburg , Austria)

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