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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 July 2021

Being at the Centre

Being at the Centre

(p.66) 9 Being at the Centre
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

We can begin to unravel the enigma of heteronymy if we note that a rather similar puzzle arises in the context of dreaming. I may certainly figure within my own dream, and there is therefore a conceptual distinction between the dreaming subject and the subject-within-a-dream. But is it possible for me to have a dream such that, within the dream, I am a subject other than the subject I am? The puzzle is to know what makes it the case that in the dream I am X and not JG: on what grounds should we answer the question ‘Which one is me?’ J. J. Valberg’s proposal is to call attention to what he calls a ‘positional use’ of the first person, distinct from its mundane use as an indexical, and a corresponding positional conception of self. Using ‘I’ positionally, I am the one to whom all this is presented, the one to whom every phenomenal property is directed, or, as Valberg puts it, the one who is ‘at the centre’ of the manifold of presentation which he calls the experiential horizon. The positional conception of self is one which Pessoa quite explicitly puts at the heart of his philosophy. With the positional conception of self to hand, a solution to the enigma of heteronymy is available.

Keywords:   J. J. Valberg, positional conception of self, experiential horizon, Mark Johnston, dream self, experiential centre

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