Self-consciousness & Kinds of Self (3)

December 3, 2012 - December 4, 2012
Department of philosophy, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Salon des Professeurs, Room 2113, Misericorde
Avenue de l'Europe 20

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‘Considered as a unitary object, the self is full of apparent contradictions. It is simultaneously physical and mental, public and private, directly perceived and incorrectly imagined, universal and culture-specific' (p. 35). ‘[These different aspects or selves] are all experienced, though perhaps not all with the same quality of consciousness. And they are all valued (...)'. 

Neisser, U. (1988) 'Five kinds of Self-Knowledge', Phil. Psychol. 1, 35 – 59 (p. 36)

The question of what self-consciousness, and, more specifically, the sense of self might amount to has been at the very centre of inquiries into the human condition across different ages, cultures and academic disciplines. The answers that have emerged in the past not only revealed different theoretical and practical approaches towards the self, depending on what was assumed that we are aware of in self-consciousness, but also importantly indicated that, in being self-conscious, we take ourselves to be aware of sometimes radically different aspects of the self or indeed of altogether distinct selves.

In these interdisciplinary workshops that draw on sources from philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience, we want to explore how self-consciousness, understood broadly, intimates to us these different aspects of the particular self or kind of self we seemingly are and how these diverse self-related elements (or ‘selves') not only form a unified whole, if they do, but also how the related conceptions of the self integrate with our general theories and assumptions about the world. 

To this end, we will be discussing, inter alia, the phenomenology of self-experience; the (dis)unity of the self; self and agency; biological & evolutionary roots of the self; the emotional/affective self; the idea of a minimal self; the self and the brain; the conceptual versus non-conceptual content of self-consciousness; the embodied self; the first-person versus third-person perspective; the psychopathology of the self; the dualistic nature of the self; the problem of self-knowledge; multi-sensory integration and body awareness; the persistence of the self through time; and prospects for a unified theory of self-consciousness and the self.

The phenomenal self

  • Barry Dainton, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Bodily self-awareness

  • Olaf Blanke & Christian Pfeiffer, Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

The minimal self

  • Dan Zahavi, Center for Subjectivity Research, Copenhagen, Denmark

The self in buddhism

  • Miri Albahari, Dept. of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia 


  • Quassim Cassam, Dept. of Philosophy, Warwick University, Warwick, UK


Salon des Professeurs, Room 2113, Misericorde, Avenue de l'Europe 20, Fribourg, Switzerland (half-way between first & second floor, by the staircase, same level as cafeteria)

Everyone welcome | No Registration fee

All enquiries to: [email protected]

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