Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective

Lynne Rudder Baker


Lynne Rudder Baker, "Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective": The
first-person perspective poses a challenge to naturalism. Thomas
Metzinger has proposed an intriguing account of the first-person
perspective that takes up that challenge---an account that draws the
consequence that there are no selves, only self-models. Baker uses
Metzinger's account as a case study for naturalism. For Baker the first
person perspective is essential for the existence of a person. If the
first person perspective is irretrievably lost, the person goes out of
existence even if the person's body continues to exist. For Metzinger
there are no entities in the world that are "selves" or "persons", just
self-models. Selfmodels are products of information-processing systems
which are phenomenal in character. We are mistaken to think that our
experience of being subjects of experience points towards actual
subjects of experience who we are. After a thorough analysis of
Metzinger's reductionist account of the human self Baker works out its
semantic, epistemic, and moral consequences. Finally she asks whether it
would be rational and even possible to accept such a view as Metzinger
exposes it.


20th century philosophy; metaphysics; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; constitution; first person perspective; naturalism; Metzinger Thomas; phenomenal; self consciousness; self model

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