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3 - Phenomenology of self

from Part I - Conceptual background

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2009

Dan Zahavi
Affiliation:
Danish National Research Foundation; Center for Subjectivity Research and University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tilo Kircher
Affiliation:
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany
Anthony David
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, London
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Summary

Abstract

Initially, three different philosophical concepts of self are distinguished: a Kantian, a hermeneutical, and a phenomenological concept. The phenomenological concept is then analysed in detail. The first step of the analysis consists in an investigation of the first-personal givenness of phenomenal consciousness; the second step involves a discussion of different concepts of self-consciousness, a discussion which culminates in a criticism of the so-called higher-order representation theory. In conclusion, the article provides some examples of how the phenomenological concept of self may be of use in empirical science (psychiatry and developmental psychology).

Introduction

In the following chapter, I wish to outline and discuss some of the reflections on self that can be found in phenomenology. But let me start with a cautionary remark. Phenomenology is not the name of a philosophical position. It is the name of a philosophical tradition inaugurated by Husserl (1859–1938), and comprising among its best-known champions philosophers like Scheler, Heidegger, Schutz, Gurwitsch, Fink, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Levinas, Ricoeur and Henry. Like any other philosophical tradition, the phenomenological tradition spans many differences. This also holds true for its treatment and analysis of the self. In short, there is not one single phenomenological account of the self, just as there is not one single account of the self to be found in analytical philosophy. There are a variety of different accounts. In what follows, I have consequently been forced to make a certain selection, and to focus on what I take to be one of the most promising proposals.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Phenomenology of self
    • By Dan Zahavi, Danish National Research Foundation; Center for Subjectivity Research and University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Edited by Tilo Kircher, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany, Anthony David, Institute of Psychiatry, London
  • Book: The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry
  • Online publication: 18 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543708.004
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Phenomenology of self
    • By Dan Zahavi, Danish National Research Foundation; Center for Subjectivity Research and University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Edited by Tilo Kircher, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany, Anthony David, Institute of Psychiatry, London
  • Book: The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry
  • Online publication: 18 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543708.004
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Phenomenology of self
    • By Dan Zahavi, Danish National Research Foundation; Center for Subjectivity Research and University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Edited by Tilo Kircher, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany, Anthony David, Institute of Psychiatry, London
  • Book: The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry
  • Online publication: 18 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543708.004
Available formats
×