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 When, to follow Merleau­-Ponty, I attend to my inner self (“for whom I make decisions”) as if it is (or “I” am?) circumscribed by distinction from my outer world, my experience is that of a passive subject—that is, as a being that (or who) is subject to active sensations; conversely, as a more adequately synchronized “body­-mind” (Dewey), my experience is that of an agent who intentionally acts upon passive objects. As Churchland continues, she finds that in actions taken upon oneself the two modalities can be strangely convoked: “In my brain’s distinction between inner and outer I always have an efference copy of a command to make a movement. So I always know the movement is mine, and I can’t tickle myself. But schizophrenics can. Something is wrong with their system for efference copy.” As if her example weren’t complex enough, Paul­ Churchland (her ‘better half’) ties it back to the folk-metaphysical necessity of naïve realism: “They don’t know where their self leaves off and the independent world begins.” Nor, evidently, does Paul know where Patricia’s thought leaves off and his begins. Of course—as ‘everybody knows’—that’s just how married couples talk.

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 While Patricia’s example reenforces her argument, it reverses the problem—from the distinction needed to mark “what’s inner” from “what’s outer” to the synchrony needed to ‘own’ her situated bodily actions. But Paul’s addendum is imprecise: their schizoid self­-tickler may, in fact, not “know where their self leaves off”—but not for want of where “the independent world begins”—rather, in this case, they don’t know where their command leaves off and their sensation begins. In particular, they non­-consciously (sub-personally) attribute their own movement to “another self” such that their own body (as active party) dissociates itself in part from their mind (as passive party). What they suffer is less a conjoined ‘non­-distinction’ of self and world than a disjoint between executive­ function (agency) and somatic body schemas (sensory and motor) such that active and passive modes of self­-experience are subtly desynchronized. In fewer words: while their ‘outer sense’ may know the tickling hand is their own, their ‘inner sense’ feels as if it were moved by someone else. In any case, Paul’s addendum testifies to our phenomen(ologic)al complexity. Hence, we shall strive to simplify our terms—and with luck, our topics.


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