Diversity and the Minimal Self - Investigating the Self from an Enactive Viewpoint
Technische Universität Berlin
Sept. 7, 2017, 10 a.m. UTC // Sept. 7, 2017, 6 a.m. in America/New_York
The minimal self comes in two versions: a phenomenological one, which holds that experiential selfhood essentially entails a prereflective sense of mineness; that is, whatever the content of an experience, it is always given to me as my experience. The second version argues that the self is grounded in the body and can be equated with the sensorimotor organism. From an enactive viewpoint, both versions can be integrated as complementary dimensions of sensorimotor agency, thus embracing an essentially embodied view of selfhood. In my talk, I argue that such a view of self is mainly about control, individualism and independence, which risks not doing sufficient justice to the social reality and diversity of human selfhood. The enactive approach has the conceptual tools to resolve this problem and to help develop a more inclusive view of the minimal self, accounting for a dimension of selfhood that is interdependent and open to others. However, in order to do so, it needs to depart from the intuition that body and self are equal. I explain how the enactive notion of autonomy can help provide the grounds for an interdisciplinary and integrated study of the minimal self when it embraces a radically relational and distributed view of selfhood instead.