Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Mind the body (4) What kind of first-personal content?

Philosophy News image
In the previous post, I argued that the feeling of ownership must be conceived of as an affective feeling. But one may wonder whether this affective feeling is not just a side-effect of the feeling of ownership, and not the feeling itself. Evolutionary significance indeed is only a consequence of ownership (it matters because it is mine). Put it another way, why look for a different type of phenomenal property for the feeling of ownership than ownership itself? The problem that this easier strategy faces is that it presupposes what it is supposed to explain. The main challenge for any theory of the sense of body ownership is to account for its first-personal character. In brief, the feeling of ownership can rationally ground judgments of ownership of the type <this is my hand>, which are immune to error through misidentification. The crucial question is how it can do so. Another way to put it is to ask what is at the source of the de se content in ownership judgments. One may claim that the conceptual mineness content instantiated by the ownership judgment is grounded in a non-conceptual mineness content at the level of the feeling. But this solution seems to simply beg the question and to leave us with no explanation of the mineness content (conceptual or non-conceptual). It is always possible to posit mineness as an irreducible primitive phenomenal property but I believe that we should do so only when all the attempts to account for it have failed. The affective conception that I defend in my book is one such attempt. However, discussions with friends and colleagues (I’m especially thankful to Adrian Alsmith, Raphaël Millière, Chris Peacocke, and Carlota Serrahima) have shown me that it was not always clear how I succeed to meet the challenge of accounting for the first-person character of the sense of ownership. In particular, in Mind the body, I have made several claims that may appear as contradictory:  One experiences one’s body. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophy of Mind – The Brains Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus