Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data

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Metzinger II 547
Self-Consciousness/Animal/Block: possession of the concept of self. Some animals recognize themselves in the mirror.
E.g. Animal experiment: Chimpanzees are anesthetized and then paint is applied in spots on the nose and ears. 7- to 15-year-old chimpanzees, after looking in the mirror, try to wipe off the spots.

Explanation/Block: E.g. there is an explanation of this animal experiment, which consists in denying the self-consciousness to the chimpanzees. Instead, they should recognize a fellow in the mirror and conclude that they themselves might have similar spots.
Block: This is not a refutation of the actual explanation, but unintentionally presumes a much stronger consciousness in the chimpanzees as well as the ability to conclude!
      Also self-consciousness: to think about whether I have a spot on my forehead, I need to be able think about myself.
II 557
Animal experiment: e.g. on a screen, a chimpanzee controls the movements of his arm in a hole he can not see into. (Is considered as "cultural achievement" by some.)
BlockVsDnett: self-consciousness yes, but why cultural?
E.g. That I need a "director's self-consciousness" to see me as a director is simply trivial and does not really require any culture. Otherwise I'd need a separate self-consciousness for me as someone who has the keys in his pocket. Ad infinitum. Infinitely many characterizations do not require their own special self-consciousness.

Block I
N. Block
Consciousness, Function, and Representation: Collected Papers, Volume 1 (Bradford Books) Cambridge 2007

Metz I
Th. Metzinger (Hrsg.)
Bewusstsein Paderborn 1996

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-05-27