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Metaphysics and The Anti-Metaphysics of the Self.

Hamilton, Andy



The modern conception of self-consciousness holds that, in self-conscious thought, I think of myself as both subject and object; and that the subject is essentially embodied. This understanding begins with Kant. An anti-metaphysical treatment regards 'What is a self?' as expressing a pseudo-problem; it regards the claim of an immaterial self as nonsensical, and diagnoses its postulation. A moderate anti- metaphysical position analyses self-consciousness by appeal to the Analytic Principle: that self-consciousness is a phenom-enon expressed -- or interpreted -- by use of a device with the pro-perties of the first person. This article proposes a strong interpreta-tion of the Principle, involving the conceptual holism of self-consciousness and self-reference. But how essential is the use of 'I' to self-consciousness? In the name-user scenario, each speaker uses their own name self-consciously to self-refer. However, in this scenario, against appearances, 'I' is not in fact eliminated without loss of the language's expressive power, and so the Analytic Principle is preserved.


Hamilton, A. (2015). Metaphysics and The Anti-Metaphysics of the Self. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 22(11-12), 60-83

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Publication Date 2015-01
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2015
Journal Journal of Consciousness Studies
Print ISSN 1355-8250
Electronic ISSN 2051-2201
Publisher Imprint Academic
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 11-12
Pages 60-83
Publisher URL