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Expressing the SelfCultural Diversity and Cognitive Universals$
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Minyao Huang and Kasia M. Jaszczolt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786658.001.0001

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Expressing the selves

Expressing the selves

Subject splits and viewpoint hierarchies in multiple-perspective constructions

(p.143) 8 Expressing the selves
Expressing the Self

Sonja Zeman

Oxford University Press

By drawing parallels to neuro-philosophical approaches to self-consciousness that give up the notion of an a priori psychological self, Zeman argues that linguistic self-reference does not reflect the self as a holistic subject of consciousness, but as a set of different ‘selves’ that are commonly neutralized behind the personal pronoun ‘I’. The argument is grounded in an investigation of ‘multiple-perspective constructions’ (MPC) like the epistemic use of modal verbs, Free Indirect Discourse, and the ‘Future of Fate’ constructions where the subject is split in more than one dimension. The analysis shows that the impression of a holistic self emerges as a discourse effect based on the integration of the hierarchical relations between (i) an ‘internal’ and ‘external’ self with respect to the mental content, and (ii) ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ perspectives with respect to the communicative roles.

Keywords:   subject split, Free Indirect Discourse, epistemicity, modal verbs, ‘internal’ vs ‘external’ perspective, neuro-philosophy, self-consciousness

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