SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Selfhood as an Emergent Property
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

Philosophers have been speaking for some time about the conflict between the first- and third-person viewpoints (Madell 1991), or the scientific and manifest images of man (Sellars 1963). Building upon the work of Baker (2000), Zahavi (2005) and Bayne (2010), I suggest an emergentist solution to this conflict. Emergentism, a non-reductionist approach in philosophy of mind, can also be used to deal with some problems in personal identity. Consider selves, defined as (1) mental things or properties identical to us (2) which are not identical to our bodies or brains. There can be two principal metaphysical stances about selves: (1) anti-realism / eliminativism - there are no such things as selves and we are identical to respective bodies, brains, or human animals; (2) realism - we are selves, selves are real, selves are not identical to animals etc. (Note that a self-realist stance does not commit us to a broader substance dualism). Before an argument for either is made, let us again turn to selves. Perhaps it is rather uncontroversial that an entity S has selfhood iff S possesses a first-person perspective. S's having a first-person perspective means there is some state which is for S (e.g. feeling pain, being cold, or seeing red are all states which might be for S; it can also be argued a token of these states, if it is for S, is only for S). Note that being in a state is different from experiencing this state perspectivally: a rock can be cold, but the state of being cold is not for the rock (i.e. the rock lacks for-me-ness, or, put differently, the rock is not in an intentional state of being cold). If the first-person perspective is indeed essential for selfhood, then self-antirealism must be rejected insofar as complete physical descriptions of bodies, brains and animals apparently cannot account for their having the first-person perspective. Thus, we ought to opt for self-realism. How, then, do we reconcile the ontical gap between non-identical animals and their selves? A possible solution is self-emergentism. On this view, selfhood, or having a first-person perspective, is an emergent property S of animals which are not identical to S.

Chair: Bruno Cortesi
Time: 16:00-16:30, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002
Remark: (Online Talk)

Dmitry Tourko 
(HSE University, Russia)



Testability and Meaning deco