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The Body in Social Context: Some Qualifications on the 'Warmth and Intimacy' of Bodily Self-Consciousness

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In this paper I examine William James' concept of the 'warmth and intimacy' of bodily self-consciousness and relate it to recent attempts to recast bodily self-consciousness in strictly neural terms. James takes bodily 'warmth and intimacy' to solve a number of problems related to the material and spiritual aspects of self and personal identity. He mentions but does not fully explore the possible disruptions in the bodily sense of ownership that can come about as the result of experimental and pathological circumstances, and that would have to qualify such solutions. I argue that an explanation in strictly neuroscientific terms does no better in accounting for bodily self-consciousness. Both James and proponents of the 'body-in-the-brain' theory ignore the social aspects of the self and the role they play in accounting for bodily self-consciousness and its various disruptions.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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