Against Deflation of the Subject
Keywords:deflation, subject of experience, panpsychism, combination problem, pre-reflective self-awareness
I will argue that accounts of mineness and pre-reflective self-awareness can be helpful to panpsychists in solving the combination problems. A common strategy in answering the subject combination problem in panpsychism is to deflate the subject, eliminating or reducing subjects to experience. Many modern panpsychist theories are deflationist or endorse deflationist accounts of subjects, such as Parfit’s reductionism of personal identity and G. Strawson’s identity view. To see if there can be deflation we need to understand what the subject/self is. One aspect of consciousness left unexplored and unappreciated by panpsychist theories is pre-reflective self-consciousness/self-awareness. Theories of the self, inspired by phenomenology, that are serious about subjectivity, could be of use in arguing against the deflationary reductionism of the experiencing subject. These theories show that there is more to the subject of experience than just its experiences (qualities). Even without arguing for any precise account of the nature of the self, it can be shown what phenomenology of subjective character of consciousness and pre-reflective self-awareness contributes to the combination problem debate.
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