Carolyn Dicey Jennings presents "From Attention to Self"

Event Date: Friday, February 15 - 4:00 pm

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to welcome Carolyn Dicey Jennings (UC Merced) presenting her paper: "From Attention to Self"

Date: Friday, February 15th 
Time: 4:00 – 5:30pm
Place: HUM 587

A popular view of the self is that it exists inside the head. Movies sometimes present the self as a tiny person living inside of our skulls, seeing the world through our eyes. However, this concept of a 'homunculus,' or little human, is not popular in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. It has a serious problem: it is used to explain how it is that we see, hear, and engage with the world by introducing a new being that sees, hears, and engages with the world. If this worked then we would need homunculi "all the way down" to account for the seeing, hearing, and engagement of each. Philosophers and cognitive scientists seem to fear that any brain-based account of the self will have this problem. Within these fields, you will find discussions of the narrative self, the illusory self, the constructed self, the imaginary self, the self concept, and self as center of narrative gravity. These are not really theories of self, but of self image. In this talk, I aim to provide a brain-based account of the self while avoiding the 'homunculus fallacy.' As I will argue, the existence of an emergent self with its own causal powers is the best explanation of the phenomenon of top-down control in attention.