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Self-Consciousness and "Split" BrainsThe Minds' I$
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Elizabeth Schechter

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809654.001.0001

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Self and Other in the Split-Brain Subject

Self and Other in the Split-Brain Subject

(p.156) 7 Self and Other in the Split-Brain Subject
Self-Consciousness and "Split" Brains

Elizabeth Schechter

Oxford University Press

This chapter concerns self-consciousness in split-brain subjects. I argue, first, that R and L are both capable of thinking I-thoughts: thoughts containing the mental or conceptual analogue of the English word “I.” On the other hand, R’s and L’s self-consciousness differs, in its operative dynamics, from self-consciousness in, say, my sister and me. First of all, neither R nor L recognizes the existence of a second thinker sharing its body. I call this lack of mutual recognition. Second, L seems to assume that its I-thoughts refer to S, and R seems to assume the same of its I-thoughts. I call this (subjective) co-identification as S. I then argue that lack of mutual recognition and co-identification as S are explained by the fact that R and L lack the capacity for self-distinction: neither can first-personally distinguish itself from the other.

Keywords:   self-consciousness, mutual recognition, persons, self-reference, immunity to error through misidentification

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