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Against ‘Corporism’: The Two Uses of ‘I’

Organon F, 2009, roč. 16, č. 4, s. 428-448.
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In his book Individuals P. F. Strawson writes that ‘both the Cartesian and the no-ownership theorists are profoundly wrong in holding, as each must, that there are two uses of ‘I’, in one of which it denotes something which it does not denote in the other’ (p. 98). I think, by contrast, that there is a defensible ‘Cartesian materialist’ sense, which Strawson need not reject, in which I (=df. the word ‘I’ or the concept i) can and does denote two different things, and which is nothing like the flawed Wittgensteinian distinction between the use of I ‘as object’ and the use of I ‘as subject’. I don’t argue directly for the ‘two uses’ view, however. Instead I do some preparatory work. First I criticize one bad (Wittgensteinian or ‘Wittgensteinian’) argument for the ‘only one use of I’ view. Then I offer a phenomenological description of our everyday experience of ourselves that leads to an attack on ‘corporism’—the excessive focus on the body in present-day analytic philosophy of mind.

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