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The Basic Self and Its Doubles

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As Descartes noted, a proper account of the nature of the being one is begins with a basic self present in first-person experience, a self that one cannot cogently doubt being. This paper seeks to uncover such a self, first within consciousness and thinking, then within the lived or first-person felt body. After noting the lack of grounding of Merleau-Ponty's commonly referenced reflections, it undertakes a phenomenological investigation of the body that finds the basic self to reside in one's espoused feelings and striving, both bodily in nature. It then examines the relationship of the lived body to the visual body and to the body studied by science. Two issues concerning that relationship are taken up. It is concluded that on the available evidence neither the apparent agency nor the apparent free will of the lived body is illusory.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Courtesy Professor in Philosophy, University of Oregon, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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