DPhil Seminar (Wednesday - Week 6, HT19)

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Many philosophers and psychologists agree that there is a special connection between bodily awareness and self-consciousness, although they disagree on how to adequately characterise this connection. This disagreement resolves around two issues. First, what is the relevant criterion to determine whether a bodily experience should count as instance of self-consciousness? Against Bermúdez, I argue that bodily experiences can only be instances of self-consciousness if they involve a phenomenology of bodily ownership, namely if they are experiences as of one’s body or body part. Second, do bodily experiences normally involve a phenomenology of bodily ownership? Existing arguments in support of a positive answer to this question draw upon empirical evidence regarding the rubber hand illusion, somatoparaphrenia and depersonalisation disorder. I argue that such arguments are inconclusive, and introduce a new argument that draws upon evidence regarding drug-induced states. I conclude by discussing the prevalence of the phenomenology of bodily ownership in ordinary conscious experience.


DPhil Seminar Organisers: Chong Ming Lim and James Matharu

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