A phantom body as bodily self-consciousness

Przemysław Nowakowski

Translation: Paweł Gładziejewski

According to Peter Halligan, […] it is important to consider that the experience of our body is largely the product of a continuously updated „phantom” generated by the brain. (Halligan 2002, 266). Next, he adds: I will argue (not withstanding pathology to the physical body) that the prevalent common sense assumption of phantom experience as pathological is wrongheaded and largely based on a long-standing and pernicious folk assumption that the physical body is necessary for experience of a body. (Halligan 2002, 252).
These two remarks can serve as a backdrop for a discussion of the problem of bodily self-consciousness presented in the article. If experiencing a phantom of an amputated limb is indeed not pathological, and if normal bodily experience is de facto based on the body phantom constructed by the brain, then our conception of this very phantom should prove relevant when trying to explain bodily self-consciousness.

Keywords: body, cognitive science, experience, phantom, self-consciousness.

Abstract [PDF]

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