Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity

Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity

by Thomas Metzinger

ISBN-10: 0262633086

ISBN-13: 9780262633086

Pub. Date: 09/01/2004

Publisher: MIT Press

According to Thomas Metzinger, no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. The phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a "transparent self-model." In Being No One, Metzinger, a German philosopher,

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According to Thomas Metzinger, no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. The phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a "transparent self-model." In Being No One, Metzinger, a German philosopher, draws strongly on neuroscientific research to present a representationalist and functional analysis of what a consciously experienced first-person perspective actually is. Building a bridge between the humanities and the empirical sciences of the mind, he develops new conceptual toolkits and metaphors; uses case studies of unusual states of mind such as agnosia, neglect, blindsight, and hallucinations; and offers new sets of multilevel constraints for the concept of consciousness. Metzinger's central question is: How exactly does strong, consciously experienced subjectivity emerge out of objective events in the natural world? His epistemic goal is to determine whether conscious experience, in particular the experience of being someone that results from the emergence of a phenomenal self, can be analyzed on subpersonal levels of description. He also asks if and how our Cartesian intuitions that subjective experiences as such can never be reductively explained are themselves ultimately rooted in the deeper representational structure of our conscious minds.

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Product Details

MIT Press
Publication date:
Bradford Books Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

1.1Consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective1
1.3Overview: The architecture of the book9
2Tools I13
2.1Overview: Mental representation and phenomenal states13
2.2From mental to phenomenal representation: Information processing, intentional content, and conscious experience15
2.2.1Introspectability as attentional availability32
2.2.2Availability for cognitive processing38
2.2.3Availability for the control of action39
2.3From mental to phenomenal simulation: The generation of virtual experiential worlds through dreaming, imagination, and planning43
2.4From mental to phenomenal presentation: Qualia62
2.4.1What is a quale?66
2.4.2Why qualia don't exist69
2.4.3An argument for the elimination of the canonical concept of a quale83
2.4.4Presentational content86
2.5Phenomenal presentation94
2.5.1The principle of presentationality96
2.5.2The principle of reality generation98
2.5.3The principle of nonintrinsicality and context sensitivity100
2.5.4The principle of object formation104
3The Representational Deep Structure of Phenomenal Experience107
3.1What is the conceptual prototype of a phenomenal representatum?107
3.2Multilevel constraints: What makes a neural representation a phenomenal representation?116
3.2.1Global availability117
3.2.2Activation within a window of presence126
3.2.3Integration into a coherent global state131
3.2.4Convolved holism143
3.2.8Offline activation179
3.2.9Representation of intensities184
3.2.10"Ultrasmoothness": The homogeneity of simple content189
3.3Phenomenal mental models208
4Neurophenomenological Case Studies I213
4.1Reality testing: The concept of a phenomenal model of reality213
4.2Deviant phenomenal models of reality215
4.3The concept of a centered phenomenal model of reality264
5Tools II265
5.1Overview: Mental self-representation and phenomenal self-consciousness265
5.2From mental to phenomenal self-representation: Mereological intentionality265
5.3From mental to phenomenal self-simulation: Self-similarity, autobiographical memory, and the design of future selves279
5.4From mental to phenomenal self-presentation: Embodiment and immediacy285
6The Representational Deep Structure of the Phenomenal First-Person Perspective299
6.1What is a phenomenal self-model?299
6.2Multilevel constraints for self-consciousness: What turns a neural system-model into a phenomenal self?305
6.2.1Global availability of system-related information305
6.2.2Situatedness and virtual self-presence310
6.2.3Being-in-a-world: Full immersion313
6.2.4Convolved holism of the phenomenal self320
6.2.5Dynamics of the phenomenal self324
6.2.6Transparency: From system-model to phenomenal self330
6.2.7Virtual phenomenal selves340
6.2.8Adaptivity: The self-model as a tool and as a weapon344
6.3Descriptive levels of the human self-model353
6.3.1Neural correlates353
6.3.2Cognitive correlates361
6.3.3Social correlates362
6.4Levels of content within the human self-model379
6.4.1Spatial and nonspatial content380
6.4.2Transparent and opaque content386
6.4.3The attentional subject390
6.4.4The cognitive subject395
6.5Perspectivalness: The phenomenal model of the intentionality relation411
6.5.1Global availability of transient subject-object relations420
6.5.2Phenomenal presence of a knowing self421
6.5.3Phenomenal presence of an agent422
6.6The self-model theory of subjectivity427
7Neurophenomenological Case Studies II429
7.1Impossible egos429
7.2Deviant phenomenal models of the self429
7.2.2Ich-Storungen: Identity disorders and disintegrating self-models437
7.2.3Hallucinated selves: Phantom limbs, out-of-body-experiences, and hallucinated agency461
7.2.4Multiple selves: Dissociative identity disorder522
7.2.5Lucid dreams529
7.3The concept of a phenomenal first-person perspective545
8Preliminary Answers547
8.1The neurophenomenological caveman, the little red arrow, and the total flight simulator: From full immersion to emptiness547
8.2Preliminary answers558
8.3Being no one625
Name Index663
Subject Index671

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