Greg Janzen
University of Calgary (PhD)
In Subjectivity and Selfhood Dan Zahavi presents the fruits of his thinking on a nexus of issues regarding the experiential structure of consciousness and its relation to selfhood. The central theme of the book is that the “notion of self is crucial for a proper understanding of consciousness, and consequently it is indispensable to a variety of disciplines such as philosophy of mind, social philosophy, psychiatry, developmental psychology, and cognitive neuroscience” . Proceeding, as in his previously published work , on the assumption that the study of consciousness can benefit from insights to be found in phenomenology, Zahavi defends his thesis largely by way of an investigation of the work of an array of phenomenologists, including Heidegger, Sartre, and, most notably, Husserl. In what follows I will not comment on the full range of topics dealt with in Subjectivity and Selfhood—e.g., reflection and attention , self and other , theory of mind —but will instead focus on two of the book’s more prominent strands of argument: that all conscious states are tacitly self-aware, and that the self is to be understood as an “experiential dimension.”
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