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Minimal Self-Awareness: from Within A Developmental Perspective

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This article focuses on the question of how we perceive and represent ourselves at the most minimal, pre-reflective level. We first review recent work emphasizing the multisensory basis of our perceptual experiences and the embodied nature of self-awareness. We then focus on interoceptive and tactile signals, as key components of bodily self-consciousness, and discuss one crucial yet overlooked aspect of our embodiment, namely the fact that bodily self-consciousness emerges from the outset within the body of another experiencing subject. Next, we review empirical findings highlighting the developmental primacy of tactile and interoceptive over visual experiences, in shaping the foundations of perceptual awareness. Building upon the influential predictive processing framework in philosophy and theoretical neuroscience, we argue that self-awareness is not only embodied, but also that perceptual experiences are fundamentally 'selfish', that is, imperatively driven by basic constraints of physiological regulation that subserve self-preservation. We then evaluate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Philosophy, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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