The Mereological Self : A Multisensory Description of Self-Plasticity
Abstract: What am “I”? To what does the word “I” refer? The Self is a concept that feels intuitively obvious to us, but is nevertheless elusive to describe. Against a backdrop of theoretical speculation, this essay presents a basic exposition of the Self with the aid of recent advances in cognitive neuroscience to address one of its most confounding problems: How does the brain sustain the Self – our sense of bodily identity? What informs the question then is dealt with by providing a frame of reference based on the philosophical theory of mereology to contain the analysis (i.e., the relationship of parts to wholes, and of parts to parts within a whole). In relation to the question “What makes us experience what we are?” the Self is put in a context of a multisensory description – a context in which the center very much fails to hold. Enacting such self-plasticity comes at the cost of explicit boundaries, and is in need of a theoretical and methodological framework – not instead, but of folk-psychological criteria – in determining the nature behind why and how we have the intuition of being a Self.
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