Self and World is an exploration of the nature of self-awareness. Quassim Cassam challenges the widespread and influential view that we cannot be introspectively aware of ourselves as objects in the world. In opposition to the views of many empiricist and idealist philosophers, including Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein, he argues that the self is not systematically elusive from the perspective of self-consciousness, and that consciousness of our thoughts and
experiences requires a sense of our thinking, experiencing selves as shaped, located, and solid physical objects in a world of such objects. Awareness of oneself as a physical object involves forms of bodily
self-awareness whose importance has seldom been properly acknowledged in philosophical accounts of the self and self-awareness. The conception of self-awareness defended in this book helps to undermine the idealist thesis that the self does not belong to the world, and also the claim that the existence of subjects or persons is only a derivative feature of reality. In the final part of the book, Cassam argues that the existence of persons is a substantial fact about the
world, and that it is not possible to give a complete description of reality without claiming that persons exist. This clear, original, and challenging treatment of one of the
deepest of intellectual problems will demand the attention of all philosophers and cognitive scientists who are concerned with the self.
`The philosopher dazzling audiences today is 44-year-old Cassam, who has just deserted Oxford to become Chair of Philosophy at University College, London. Described by the distinguished Sir Peter Stawson as the cest student he ever had, he specialises in the philosophy of knowledge, exemplified by works like his Self and World.'
`Cassam's book deals with fascinating topics ... ingenious handling of the many arguments and objections he explores.'
Andrew Brook, Mind, Vol. 110,Jan 01
1: Self and World
2: The Objectivity Argument
3: The Unity Argument
4: The Identity Argument