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Palgrave Macmillan

The Self in Question

Memory, The Body and Self-Consciousness

ISBN 9781137290403
Publication Date September 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The Self in Question offers a humanistic account of self-consciousness and personal identity, providing a much-needed rapprochement between Analytic and Phenomenological approaches to self-consciousness. In Analytic philosophy, a resurgence of interest in the topic of self-consciousness has been inspired by the work of Gareth Evans. Both Evans and his successors make the plausible assumption that self-consciousness is a capacity manifested in the use of "I", or through behaviour which must be described in terms of "I". The Self in Question develops this assumption through an analysis of Wittgenstein's insights into "I"-as-subject and self-identification, relating them – as their author did not – to the epistemology of memory and bodily awareness. As a result, it is able to discern the truth in the apparently discredited memory criterion of personal identity. It also draws on Husserl's and Merleau-Ponty's understanding of the body's significance for self-consciousness, to offer a critique of materialism about the body.


Andy Hamilton teaches philosophy at Durham University, UK. His publications include Aesthetics and Music (2007), Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser's Art (2007), Scruton's Aesthetics (2012, co-edited with Nick Zangwill), The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty (forthcoming) and many articles in aesthetics and philosophy of mind.

1. Self-Consciousness and Its Linguistic Expression
2. Memory and Self-Consciousness (1): Immunity to Error Through Misidentification and the Critique of Quasi-Memory
3. Memory and Self-Consciousness (2): The Conceptual Holism of Memory and Personal Identity, and the Unity of Consciousness
4. Proprioception and Self-Consciousness (1): Proprioception as Direct, Immediate Knowledge of the Body
5. Proprioception and Self-Consciousness (2): Self-Conscious Knowledge and the Rejection of Self-Presentation
6. Self-Identification and Self-Reference
7. Humanism and Animal Self-Consciousness


"Andy Hamilton's The Self in Question is a penetrating and refreshingly original work on the related topics of self-consciousness, memory, self-reference, and personal identity. It locates previously unrecognised connections between these topics, and its discussion of conceptual holisms is particularly important. Hamilton carves out a distinctive and plausible position covering a wide range of key topics in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language, and he does so in a way that will be useful to readers both inside and outside the Analytic tradition." – Stephen Braude, University of Maryland, USA
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