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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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(p.264) 9 Holism
The Phenomenal Self

Barry Dainton (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One way for an object to be metaphysically simple is to lack parts, in the manner of a geometrical point. But more complex objects and systems can be simple too, in one sense at least, provided their parts are such they cannot be separated from the wholes to which they belong. It is widely supposed, for example, that psychological systems are composed of parts that are heavily interdependent. This chapter argues that systems of experiential capacities are also heavily interdependent, and that some of these interdependencies arise from purely phenomenal considerations: ‘power holism’ flows from ‘phenomenal holism’, where the latter consists of interdependencies among the constituents of unified conscious states. The interdependencies are sufficiently deep and pervasive that the relevant systems of capacities (and hence our selves) are composed of parts that are inseparable from their wholes. Quite how inseparable depends on delicate matters of individuation.

Keywords:   simplicity, interdependency, phenomenal holism, power holism, parts

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