Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Self-consciousness, philosophy: self-consciousness is a form of consciousness that allows a localization of the thinking subject in the logical space. The prerequisite for self-consciousness is consciousness of external and internal processes as well as the ability to differentiate between these two sources of influences. See also identification, self-identification, self, I, consciousness, individuation, identity, person.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data

Ned Block on Self- Consciousness - Dictionary of Arguments

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.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

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

Block II
Ned Block
"On a confusion about a function of consciousness"
Bewusstein, Thomas Metzinger, Paderborn/München/Wien/Zürich 1996

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-08-04
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