September 22, 2017

Narcissus and Echo: Self-consciousness and the Inter-subjective Body

Self-consciousness has classically been conceptualized as originating either from “solipsistic mirrors” (e.g. recognizing myself in the image of my body reflected in physical mirrors and attributing to myself mental states experienced through introspection) or from “social mirrors” (e.g. seeing myself in others’ eyes and understanding myself according to others’ reaction to my behavior). Is self-consciousness subjectively or inter-subjectively constituted? Most answers currently given to this question are partial, favoring hierarchical models where either oneself or others are prioritized. The present project aims at proposing alternatives to such views, by considering subjectivity and inter-subjectivity as two moments of a dynamical system. In particular, the project focuses on bodily self-consciousness and intends to develop aconceptual characterization of the inter-subjective structure of embodiment. During this project we aim to actively integrate conceptual, experimental and clinical work.