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The Phenomenal Self$
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Barry Dainton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288847.001.0001

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Simple Selves

Simple Selves

(p.236) 8 Simple Selves
The Phenomenal Self

Barry Dainton (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the question: ‘how simple is it possible for a self to be?’ from a number of different angles. Could a maximally simple subject exist, a subject which possesses only a single capacity for a rudimentary form of experience? Although the idea may initially seem absurd, the various objections dissolve under scrutiny. Could a subject take the form of a stream of experiences which are not the product of experiential powers? A minimal subject is nothing but a stream of consciousness. If such subjects are possible, the C-theory can easily be modified so as to accommodate them. The chapter closes by considering whether a partially (or weakly) unified consciousness is possible. If the answer to this question is ‘no’ then there is a sense in which selves are necessarily simpler than they would be if the answer were ‘yes’.

Keywords:   simple subjects, minimal subjects, C-theory, unity of consciousness, weak unity, partial unity

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