HFIK03801U FILO, Module 10: Freely Chosen Topic in Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind

Volume 2016/2017

Master in Philosophy, 2014-Curriculum


Consciousness and self-consciousness

What is self-consciousness? In everyday life, self-consciousness is often thought to be a matter of a person thinking about herself. But even that apparently simple definition can cover a variety of very different cognitive accomplishments. Consider for instance, the difference between introspectively scrutinizing one’s occurrent experience, thinking about one’s past performance, taking pride in one’s ability to fulfil a chosen social role, or anxiously appraising how others perceive one. If one ventures into the philosophical debate, the complexity only multiplies, since the literature is filled with competing, conflicting and complementary definitions.

The aim of the course is to present and discuss a number of different attempts to understand and articulate the relation between consciousness and self-consciousness. Is self-consciousness a form of inward-directed intentionality? Is self-consciousness dependent upon interpersonal relations? What is the relation between self-consciousness and the temporal stream of consciousness? Does the difference between a conscious and a non-conscious mental state rest upon the presence or absence of a relevant meta-mental state? Is self-consciousness a form of higher-order meta-representation or rather an intrinsic feature of experience?

The course will not only discuss some classical phenomenological contributions to this debate (e.g., Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre), it will also look at more recent proposals found in analytic philosophy of mind (e.g., Carruthers, Rosenthal, Kriegel, Strawson), and also consider some of the empirical implications of the debate, in particular its relevance for issues in developmental psychology and neuroscience.

Learning Outcome

The Master’s Programme in Philosophy 2014:
Module 10, Freely Chosen Topic ...: HFIK03801E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 1: HFIK03741E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 2: HFIK03751E

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 367,5
  • Total
  • 409,5