Self-Involving Representationalism: In favor of a Weak Interpretation of Hume’s Observation

Self-Involving Representationalism: In favor of Hume’s Observation 

One of the most famous Hume’s quotes regards the relation between perception
and oneself:

Hume’s Observation: I never can catch myself at any time without a perception,
and never can observe any thing but the perception. Hume (1739, p.252)

Most people tend to agree with Hume’s observation, but disagree on the metaphysical
conclusions to be derived from it: do selves exist? Are selves mere
bundles of perception? Do they in endure? In this paper I am not interested
in these metaphysical questions but rather in phenomenological considerations;
and in particular whether there is such a thing as consciousness of oneself as
a self, that is, as a subject of the experience, a possibility that has been rejected by Jesse Prinz.

This paper is organized in two sections. In the first one I argue in favor of
a weak reading of Hume’s observation. The force of Prinz’s arguments against
some of his opponents, and in favor of a stronger reading, rests on the failure
of his opponents to provide a reductive understanding of what he calls I-qualia.
For this purpose I will offer a such a reductive account in the second section.

This paper was presented at the VII UNAM-UT Austin Meeting.

A presentation of the paper can be found here.


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