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MindGrad 2009

‘I, Me, Mine’

Alisa Mandrigin (University of Edinburgh)

Phenomenologists have claimed that pre-reflective self-consciousness offers us the means to ascribe properties to ourselves (Zahavi 1999, 2005). I can self-ascribe a previous experience to myself because the self-as-subject of my current memory can connect or match the self-as-subject of that past experience. This suggests that this subjective-awareness, including pre-reflective bodily awareness, gives us awareness of oneself qua subject, even as a physical object. However, the details of this suggestion are unclear. We can query how it is that I can self-attribute the face reflected in the mirror to myself. My pre-reflective bodily-awareness does not present me with the object-body (or indeed any object), yet for the one to connect with the other, there must be something that can match the pre-reflective bodily awareness with the awareness of the body-as-object. Whilst proprioception might seem like an obvious means of connecting the body-as-subject with the body-as-object, it merely illustrates the problem we have by amplifying the distinction between subject-awareness and observational object-awareness.

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