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Stufen des Selbstbewusstseins: Eine Analyse von Ich-Gedanken

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Abstract:

Self-consciousness is often described as the ability to entertain I-thoughts. The traditional “linguistic approach” to self-consciousness analyzes the linguistic expressions of I-thoughts. In contrast to this, I will pursue a “cognitive approach” which aims at explaining self-consciousness on the grounds of the underlying self-representations (just as other cognitive abilities are explained by other special underlying mental representations). My analysis of I-thoughts reveals different levels of self-representation: A non-conceptual level on which the self is only represented implicitly, and hence misattribution cannot occur. A conceptual level on which some perceived property is explicitly attributed to the self, and hence misattribution can occur. Misidentifications are only possible for I-thoughts that are grounded on the body-image and the self-image, which are stored collections of self-representations. Since, as I will argue, introspection and perception are very similar in the relevant aspects (pace Shoemaker), the same levels of representations have to be assumed on the meta-representational level. Hence, there are different levels of self-consciousness which are grounded in different levels of self-representation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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