The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance

Jonardon Ganeri

Research output: Book/ReportBook


What is it to occupy a first-person stance? Is the first-personal idea one has of oneself in conflict with the idea of oneself as a physical being? How, if there is a conflict, is it to be resolved? In this book a new way to address those questions, drawing inspiration from theories about the self in first millennial India, is formulated. These philosophers do not regard the first-person stance as in conflict with the natural-their idea of nature not that of scientific naturalism but rather a liberal naturalism non-exclusive of the normative. A wide range of ideas are explored: reflexive self-representation, mental files, and quasi-subject analyses of subjective consciousness; the theory of emergence as transformation; embodiment and the idea of a bodily self; the centrality of the emotions to the unity of self. Buddhism's claim that there is no self too readily assumes an account of what a self must be. This book argues instead that the self is a negotiation between self-presentation and normative avowal, a transaction grounded in unconscious mind. Immersion, participation, and coordination are jointly constitutive of self, the first-person stance at once lived, engaged, and underwritten. And all is in harmony with the idea of the natural.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages392
ISBN (Electronic)9780191740718
ISBN (Print)9780199652365
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • Consciousness
  • Coordination
  • First-person stance
  • Immersion
  • India
  • Naturalism
  • Participation
  • Self
  • Subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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