Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective

Lynne Rudder Baker


Lynne Rudder Baker, "Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective": The first-person perspective poses a challenge to naturalism. Thomas Metzinger has proposed an intriguing account of the first-person perspective that takes up that challenge---an account that draws the consequence that there are no selves, only self-models. Baker uses Metzinger's account as a case study for naturalism. For Baker the first person perspective is essential for the existence of a person. If the first person perspective is irretrievably lost, the person goes out of existence even if the person's body continues to exist. For Metzinger there are no entities in the world that are "selves" or "persons", just self-models. Selfmodels are products of information-processing systems which are phenomenal in character. We are mistaken to think that our experience of being subjects of experience points towards actual subjects of experience who we are. After a thorough analysis of Metzinger's reductionist account of the human self Baker works out its semantic, epistemic, and moral consequences. Finally she asks whether it would be rational and even possible to accept such a view as Metzinger exposes it.


20th century philosophy; metaphysics; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; constitution; first person perspective; naturalism; Metzinger Thomas; phenomenal; self consciousness; self model

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