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Sunday, 20 December 2009
Pseudsday Psunday

An intrusive piece of management speak exhorts the human resource component to find his – or of course her – “best self”. But one’s “best self” can be but a poor copy of Barry Dainton’s “Phenomenal Self”, reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. Philosophers aren’t usually called Barry – is there something going on here? Read and find out:

Barry Dainton, in The Phenomenal Self, aims to provide a new kind of neo-Lockean account of the self and its persistence – what he calls an “experience-based” account. And, although his working assumption is that consciousness is causally dependent on activity in the brain, he is agnostic about reductionism. Instead, he says that while his account is fully compatible with reductionist approaches that aim to reduce persons and phenomenal (conscious) goings-on to sub-personal parts and to non-phenomenal (non-conscious) goings on respectively, he would prefer that reductionists, contrary to their usual practice, first gave an experience-based account of the self and only later attempted their reductions.

There seem, to my layman’s eye, to be two things going on here: “goings-on” and “goings on”. I hope neither involves hanky-panky, or “mouchoir-pouchoir” as Jacques Derrida might call it, especially with the sub-personal parts.

New English Review has a Regular Reader called Reductionry, but he is very much the old kind of neo-Lockean.

Posted on 12/20/2009 9:45 AM by Mary Jackson
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