Debunking Metzinger on the Self

Nothwithstanding the critical result of this review (essay), Thomas Metzinger’s contribution to the rehabilitation of introspection and the phenomenology of experiential consciousness is substantial. The rehabilitation of introspection is critical path for my own work on empathy, since one approach to empathy is as ‘vicarious introspection’ [see Heinz Kohut and other articles on this site]. Metzinger’s contribution is “over the top” and cannot be under-estimated or neglected. I am taking him to task for a rhetorically excessive position he does not really need – except perhaps for marketing purposes. IMHO. For the neurophenomenologist, Thomas Metzinger, the self does not exist – there are no selves, only the naively realistic misunderstanding that a phenomenal self appears in consciousness. This review argues that the main problem with Metzinger’s approach is that he is working with an anachronistic, though celebrated, definition of the self, a thinking thing, which he then, naturally, finds unsatisfactory. Three issues with this position are explored, and what is valid in Metzinger’s otherwise rhetorically excessive contribution is recovered. Several positive accounts of the self are indicated, but not developed in this piece (but elsewhere on this site).   PhilPsychPPDebunkingMetzinger20091015Agosta [This post and related articles (c) Lou Agosta, Ph.D.]

Categories: Empathy, psychotherapy, Self, talk therapy

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