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The Self and the Phenomenal

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As is widely appreciated and easily demonstrated, the notion that we are essentially experiential (or conscious) beings has a good deal of appeal; what is less obvious, and more controversial, is whether it is possible to devise a viable account of the self along such lines within the confines of a broadly naturalistic metaphysical framework. There are many avenues to explore, but here I confine myself to outlining the case for one particular approach. I suggest that we should think of ourselves (or our essential cores) as being composed of experience-producing systems, and that such systems belong to the same self when they have the capacity to contribute to unified streams of consciousness. The viability of this proposal rests in turn on a particular conception of the structure of consciousness, both at and over time; this conception is defended in the first part of the paper

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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