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Self and Others

What is the relation between self-consciousness and our awareness of others? And how do we develop an understanding of others and ourselves? The aim of this project is to provide an account of the development of the self in relation to others. It spells out different notions of self-consciousness and explains why there is a constitutive relation between self-consciousness and consciousness of others. Further, it describes the gradual development of the self in relation to others by analyzing empirical findings on social cognition.

The analysis reveals a gradual transition from implicit to explicit forms of self- and other-representation that leads to an increasingly complex array of social cognitive abilities, which in-turn lead to the development of a self-conception. This also suggests that we have multiple ways of understanding and engaging with others. Some of these are likely to involve simulation processes and rely on bodily and implicit self-other matching, while others require the explicit ascription of mental states. Importantly, much of our understanding of self and others should be thought of in terms of skill, or knowing-how, that is knowledge of how to engage in various kinds of social interactions. Finally, the project asks what it means to learn to think of ourselves and others as persons in this context and examines the role of emotions and the importance of specific kinds of interactions between adults and children for this process.

Prof. Dr. Kristina Musholt
Self and Others
Musholt, K. (2018). Self and Others. Interdisciplinary science reviews, 43, 136-145 Musholt, K. (2017). The personal and the subpersonal in the theory of mind debate. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 17, 305-324. Musholt, K. (2015). Thinking about oneself: From nonconceptual content to the concept of a self. MIT Press.