The Limited Significance of Self-Consciousness

Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 68 (4):435-454 (2010)


The aim of the paper is to present an attempt to reconcile the results of some of the main positions with respect to the I or self-consciousness put forward so far in the modern history of Western philosophy. They range from the conviction that self-consciousness is a systematically elusive phenomenon to the claim that the I is of supreme reality. Though these assertions seem to contradict each other in various ways, I hope to show that nevertheless one can learn from these accounts quite a lot about the nature and the function of self- consciousness or the I which might help to determine its status and its significance within the wider framework of human attitudes and accomplishments. In particular, I want to point out that elusiveness and supreme reality of the I or self-consciousness are not that much opposed as one might believe at first, as can be learned especially well from Kant and some of his German idealistic followers and their insistence on propositional contexts as a necessary condition for a self-conscious I

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

43 (#267,544)

6 months
1 (#386,989)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Rolf-Peter Horstmann
Humboldt-University, Berlin

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Similar books and articles

Self-Consciousness.Christopher Peacocke - 2011 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 72 (4):521-551.
Mémoire, réflexion et conscience chez Christian Wolff.Olivier-Pierre Rudolph - 2003 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 193 (3):351-360.
What is Consciousness and has It Evolved?Albert Low - 2005 - World Futures 61 (3):199 – 227.
Le Problème de l'Inconscient Selon Descartes.Xavier Kieft - 2007 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 197 (3):307-321.
The Philosophical Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.