Naturalism and the First-person Perspective

ISBN : 9780199914746

Lynne Rudder Baker
272 Pages
141 x 210 mm
Pub date
Aug 2013
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Science and its philosophical companion, Naturalism, represent reality in wholly nonpersonal terms. How, if at all, can a nonpersonal scheme accommodate the first-person perspective that we all enjoy? In this volume, Lynne Rudder Baker explores that question by considering both reductive and eliminative approaches to the first-person perspective. After finding both approaches wanting, she mounts an original constructive argument to show that a nonCartesian first-person perspective belongs in the basic inventory of what exists. That is, the world that contains us persons is irreducibly personal. After arguing for the irreducibilty and ineliminability of the first-person perspective, Baker develops a theory of this perspective. The first-person perspective has two stages, rudimentary and robust. Human infants and nonhuman animals with consciousness and intentionality have rudimentary first-person perspectives. In learning a language, a person acquires a robust first-person perspective: the capacity to conceive of oneself as oneself, in the first person. By developing an account of personal identity, Baker argues that her theory is coherent, and she shows various ways in which first-person perspectives contribute to reality.


Introduction: What is the Problem?
The Claim of Naturalism
A Challenge to Naturalism
What is at Stake
An Overview
Part I: The Core Argument
Ch. 1. Varieties of Naturalism
What Counts As 'Science'?
Reductive Naturalism
Nonreductive Naturalism
Disenchantment and Optimism
Ch. 2. On Naturalizing the First-Person Perspective
What is Naturalization?
The Robust First-Person Perspective
The Rudimentary First-Person Perspective
Ch. 3. Reductive Approaches to the First-Person Perspective
John Perry on an Epistemic Account of the Self
David Lewis on De Se Belief
A Comment on John Searle
Can Cognitive Science Save the Day?
Ch. 4. Eliminative Approaches to the First-Person Perspective
Daniel Dennett on Consciousness
Thomas Metzinger on a Self-Model Theory
My Recommendation
Ch. 5. Arguments Against First-Person Naturalization
From First-Person Concepts to First-Person Properties
A Linguistic Argument: A Complete Ontology Must Include First-Person Properties
A Metaphysical Argument Against Ontological Naturalism
Part II: An Account of the First-Person Perspective
Ch. 6. From the Rudimentary to the Robust Stage of the First-Person Perspective
The First-Person Perspective: Consciousness and Self-Consciousness
Language and the Acquisition of Concepts
How to Acquire a Self-Concept
Human Persons: Wrap Up
Ch. 7. Is the Idea of the First-Person Perspective Coherent?
Personal Identity: A First-Personal Approach
Objections and Replies
Mark Johnston on the Self as Illusory
Johnston's Critique Side-Stepped
Ch. 8. A Metaphysical Framework for The First-Person Perspective
First-Person Properties
Dispositional Properties
Haecceitistic Implications
Ch. 9. Agents, Artifacts, Moral Responsibility: Some Contributions of the First-person Perspective
Moral Responsibility
Ch. 10. Natural Reality
Property-Constitution and Causation
Emergentism and Downward Causation
How Naturalistic is Near-Naturalism?

About the author: 

Lynne Rudder Baker is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Baker has written four books on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and has published many articles in philosophy journals such as The Journal of Philosophy, The Philosophical Review, Philosophical Studies, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and many more.

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