ArgLab • Permanent Seminar

Mariaflavia Cascelli

Pre-reflective self-consciousness and the phenomenology of agency

The contemporary debate on self-consciousness ranges from epistemological issues (i.e. the problem of self-knowledge), to metaphysical issues (i.e. what is a self), to moral issues (i.e. the problem of agency and of the autonomy of the will). In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the possibility that a minimal, pre-reflective form of self-consciousness precedes the introspective self-consciousness. Several attempts to argue that this “thin” notion of self-consciousness is a necessary prerequisite of consciousness have been provided. After briefly considering the semantic and epistemological issue concerning the first-person pronoun, this talk refers to the literature that investigates the exceptions to the immunity of error through misidentification principle from the point of view of the phenomenology of agency. The connection between the epistemological and the phenomenological issue has the purpose of questioning the idea that self-consciousness is an essential component of every conscious experience, even and mostly when it is amended as a minimal form of self-consciousness. The phenomenology of self-attribution of agency seems to suggest that self-consciousness corresponds to an extended rather than a minimal self, namely to a reflective rather than a pre-reflective self-consciousness.