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Phenomenal and Historical Selves

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There are two ways a person can experience or, what is different, can think about herself: first, as a subject of experience who feels a certain characteristic way, the-way-it-feels-to-be-oneself; and, second, as the person who is the subject of a particular autobiography, as the actor who is the protagonist in the history of this organism. The first is the phenomenal self; the second is the historical self. Marking the distinction has implications for philosophical psychology, for views about what a self is, how many selves a person has, the varieties of self-knowledge and self-consciousness, and for normative views about how a self is supposed to relate to its own past and future.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2012


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