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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Kant’s ground-breaking revision to Descartes’ model of the mind (the self as substance) and its reception in the nineteenth century. For Kant consciousness is not a substance, but an ongoing activity having a double constitution, or two moments: first, the original activity of consciousness (original apperception), and second, the reflected self, the ‘I think’ as object of reflection. Both are essential to the possibility of an awareness of a unified experience. Such an awareness is achieved only insofar as the self is capable of reflecting on its activity of thinking. As such, the possibility of self-consciousness, or the capacity to reflect on one’s own acts of thought is essential to the constitution of the self. This chapter analyses how this understanding of self-consciousness conditioned models of the self, its relation to God, and its relation to others in the work of Schleiermacher, Fichte, Hegel, and Kierkegaard.

Keywords: self, relationality, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, J. G. Fichte, G. W. F. Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, ‘I think’, theory of mind, self-consciousness

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