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The self is a semiotic process

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Galen Strawson (1997) accepts that the common experience of being a social self is of something that continues through time. However, he excludes this from what ‘the self’ means in a stricter ontological sense. Here I will argue that this experience of self as enduring can be taken to be ontologically real as well. I will suggest that selfhood arises from the assimilation of cultural signs by a semiotic process that is a fundamental aspect of nature. I will also consider how the phenomenological encounter with ‘the self’ is conditioned by prior beliefs and their ethical entailments.

Keywords: Pierce; Selfhood; cultural assimilation; meditation; semiotics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Psychology Department, Warwick University, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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