Next Talk of “Monthly Phenomenology”: Marie Guillot

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An online forum of discussion on recent work in phenomenology. Guillot on ‘Inserted Thought and the Phenomenal Concept of Self’.

Announcement of the next talk of the series:
An online forum of discussion on recent work in phenomenology

Description: This series of talks gathers together scholars interested in phenomenology and its relation to contemporary issues in philosophy, especially in the philosophy of mind. It establishes a forum of discussion where people can meet on a regular basis and present their work-in-progress or recent publications. The topics addressed will stretch from the history of early phenomenology to the systematic application of phenomenological insights in recent debates in analytic philosophy.

Schedule: The talks will take place once a month on a Friday from October to May. Time: 10:15am ET, 3:15pm GMT/GMT+1, 4:15pm CET. (Exceptions are the talks of February and March, which will take place at 7:15am ET, 12:15pm GMT, 1:15pm CET.) Talks last 90 minutes, including a 45 minutes Q&A.

Participation: Talks are held on zoom. To participate, please send an email to [email protected] with the heading “Registration Monthly Phenomenology”. A zoom link will be sent to you the day preceding each talk.

Next talk

Marie Guillot
Inserted Thought and the Phenomenal Concept of Self

Friday, 5 April 2024
10:15am ET, 3:15pm GMT+1, 4:15pm CET

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to use the clinical phenomenon of thought insertion (Allison-Bolger 1999, Hoerl 2001) as a test case for a comparison of accounts of the concept of self involved in de se thoughts. Recent debates include discussion of the following accounts. (A) Token-reflexive accounts, according to which de se thoughts involve, at some level of content, a certain type of descriptive concept referring to the subject as, roughly, “the thinker of this very thought” (Higginbotham 2003, Howell 2006, García-Carpintero 2016). (B) Non-egological accounts, according to which (at least some) de se thoughts do not involve an explicit representation of the self at all, but stem instead from a distinctive kind of cognitive architecture (Lewis 1979, Ninan 2013, Recanati 2007, Musholt 2013). And (C) phenomenal accounts, according to which (at least some) de se thoughts are anchored in phenomenal experience (Grünbaum 2012; Kapitan 2015) or, more specifically, involve a dedicated phenomenal concept (Guillot 2023). I propose that the case of thought insertion supports phenomenal accounts over both token-reflexive and non-egological accounts. Patients with thought insertion report thoughts occurring in their minds but which they don’t recognize as their own. On the reasonable assumption that a certain kind of transparency about the content of our own thoughts applies, this possibility (in subjects who are otherwise rational) warrants treating “the thinker of this very thought is thinking P” and “I am thinking P” as involving different (although co-referential) semantic contents. I will argue that this, in turn, is evidence against both the (A) and (B) types of accounts of the de se. I’ll go on to argue that phenomenal accounts are better positioned to explain the difference between de se thinking in normal subjects, and reflexive thoughts in patients with thought insertion, thanks to the fact that phenomenal accounts involve a substantive and distinctive source of awareness of the self which there is reason to think delusional patients may lack.

Upcoming talks
Elisa Magrì (Boston College)
24 May 2024

Guillaume Fréchette (University of Geneva)
Marta Jorba (Pompeu Fabra University)
Alessandro Salice (University College Cork)
Hamid Taieb (Humboldt University Berlin)
Íngrid Vendrell-Ferran (Philipps University Marburg)

Organized on behalf of the Network for Phenomenological Research