Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 89–118

The Bodily Self: The Sensori-Motor Roots of Pre-Reflective Self-Consciousness



A bodily self is characterized by pre-reflective bodily self-consciousness that is “immune to error through misidentification.” To this end, the body's double involvement in consciousness is considered: it can experience objects intentionally and itself non-intentionally. Specifically, pre-reflective bodily self-consciousness, by contrast with the consciousness of the body that happens to be one's own, consists in experiencing one's body as the point of convergence of action and perception. Neither proprioception alone nor intention alone is sufficient to underlie this pre-reflective bodily self-consciousness. Rather, it is made possible thanks to a sensori-motor integration, allowing a sensitivity to the sensory consequences of one's action, through action monitoring.


body immunity to error through misidentification pre-reflective consciousness self sensori-motricity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barbaras, R. 1992. De la phénoménologie du corps à l'ontologie de la chair. In: J. C. Goddard and M. Labrune (eds), Le corps, pp. 242–280. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  2. Bermudez, J. L. 1998. The Paradox of Self-Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bisiach, E., Rusconi, M. L. and Vallar, G. 1991. Remission of somatoparaphrenic delusion through vestibular stimulation. Neuropsychologia 29: 1029–1031.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Blakemore, S. J., Frith, C. D. and Wolpert, D. M. 1999. Spatio-temporal prediction modulates the perception of self-produced stimuli. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11: 551–559.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Blakemore, S. J., Wolpert, D. M. and Frith, C. D. 2002. Abnormalities in the awareness of action. Trends in Cognitive Science 6: 237–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blakemore, S. J., Wolpert, D. M. and Frith, C. D. 1998. Central cancellation of self-produced tickle sensation. Nature Neuroscience 1: 635–640.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Brewer, B. 1995. Bodily awareness and the self. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel, and N. Eilan (eds), The body and the self, pp. 291–309. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brion, S. and Jednak, C. P. 1972. Troubles du transfer interhémisphérique (callosal disconnection). A propos de trois observations de tumeurs du corps calleux. Le signe de la main étrangère. Revue Neurobiologique 126: 257–266.Google Scholar
  9. Butterworth, G. 1999. A developmental — ecological perspective on Strawson's ‘the self’. In: S. Gallagher and J. Shear (eds), Models of the Self, pp. 203–211. Exeter: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  10. Cassam, Q. 1995. Introspection and bodily self-ascription. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel and N. E. Eilan (eds), The Body and the Self, pp. 311–336. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Castaneda, H. N. 1966. ‘He’: A study in the logic of self-consciousness. Ratio VIII: 130–157. Reprinted in: A. Brook and R. C. De Vidi (eds), 2001. Self-Reference and Self-Awareness, Advances in Consciousness Research, 30, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publ. Co.Google Scholar
  12. Daprati, E., Franck, N., Georgieff, N., Proust, J., Pacherie, E., Dalery, J. and Jeannerod, M. 1997. Looking for the agent: An investigation into consciousness of action and self-consciousness in schizophrenic patients. Cognition 6: 71–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Vignemont, F. and Fourneret, P. 2004. The sense of agency: a philosophical and empirical review of the “who” system. Consciousness and Cognition 13: 1–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Dokic, J. 2003. The sense of ownership: An analogy between sensation and action. In: J. Roessler and N. Eilan (eds), Agency and Self-Awareness, pp. 321–344. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Eilan, N., Marcel, A. and Bermudez, J. L. 1995. Self-consciousness and the body: An interdisciplinary introduction. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel and N. Eilan (eds), The Body and the Self, pp. 1–28. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Evans G. 1982. Varieties of Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Farrer, C., Franck, N., Paillard, J. and Jeannerod, M. 2003. The role of proprioception in action recognition. Consciousness and Cognition 12: 609–619.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Fink, G. R., Marshall, J. C., Halligan, P. W., Frith, C. D., Driver, J., Frackowiak, R. S. and Dolan, R. J. 1999. The neural consequences of conflict between intention and the senses. Brain 122(Pt 3): 497–512.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fourneret, P. and Jeannerod, M. 1998. Limited conscious monitoring of motor performance in normal subjects. Neuropsychologia 36: 1133–1140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Fourneret, P., Paillard, J., Lamarre, Y., Cole, J. and Jeannerod, M. 2002. Lack of conscious knowledge about one's own actions in a haptically deafferented patient. Neuroreport 13(4): 541–547.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Franck, N., Farrer, C., Georgieff, N., Marie-Cardine, M., Daléry, J., D'Amato, T. and Jeannerod, M. 2001. Defective recognition of one's own actions in schizophrenic patients. American Journal of Psychiatry 158(3): 454–459.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Frith, C. 1996. Neuropsycholgie cognitive de la schizophrénie. Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
  23. Frith, C. D., Blakemore, S. J. and Wolpert, D. M. 2000. Abnormalities in the awareness and control of action. Philosophical Transplantation R Socialis London B Biological Science 355(1404): 1771–1788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gallagher, S. 2003. Bodily self-awareness and object-perception. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum: International Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies 7(1): 53–68.Google Scholar
  25. Gallagher, S. 1999. Self-reference and schizophrenia: A cognitive model of immunity to error through misidentification. In: D. Zahavi and J. Parnas (eds), Problems of the Self. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  26. Gallagher, S. 1995. Body schema and intentionality. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel and N. Eilan (eds), The Body and the Self, pp. 225–244. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Gallagher, S. 1986. Lived body and environment. Research in Phenomenology 16: 139–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gallagher, S. and Marcel, A. J. 1999. The self in contextualized action. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6: 273–300.Google Scholar
  29. Gibson, J. J. 1979. The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  30. Grammont, F., Legrand, D. and Livet, P. (eds). Forthcoming. Naturalizing Intention in Action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Haggard, P. and Clark, S. 2003. Intentional action: Conscious experience and neural prediction. Consciousness and Cognition 12: 695–707.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Head, H. and Holmes, G. 1911–1912. Sensory disturbances from cerebral lesions. Brain 34: 102–245.Google Scholar
  33. Henry, M. 1963. L'essence de la manifestation. Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
  34. Legrand, D. 2004. Problèmes de la Constitution du soi. Thèse de Doctorat en Philosophie de l'Université Aix- Marseille I.Google Scholar
  35. Legrand, D. 2003. How not to find the neural signature of self-consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 12: 544–546.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Leube, D. T., Knoblich, G., Erb, M. and Kircher, T. J. 2003. Observing one's hand become anarchic: An fMRI study of action identification. Consciousness and Cognition 12: 597–608.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Livet, P. 1997. Modèles de la motricité et théorie de l'action. In: J. L. E. Petit (ed), Les neurosciences et la philosophie de l'action, pp. 341–361. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  38. Maine de Biran. 1804. Mémoire sur la décomposition de la pensée. Paris: Vrin (éd. F. Azouvi, 1988).Google Scholar
  39. Marcel, A. 2003. The sense of agency: awareness and ownership of action. In: J. Roessler and N. Eilan (eds), Agency and Self-Awareness, pp. 48–93. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Martin, M. G. F. (1995). Bodily awareness: A sense of ownership. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel and N. Eilan (eds), The Body and the Self, pp. 267–289. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  41. Merleau-Ponty, M. 1945. Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Tel Gallimard.Google Scholar
  42. Milner, A. D. and Goodale, M. A. 1995. The Visual Brain in Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Newen, A. and Vogeley, K. 2003. Self-representation: searching for a neural signature of self-consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 12: 529–543.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Paillard, J. 1999. Body schema and body image: A double dissociation in deafferented patients. In: G. N. Gantchev, S. Mori, and J. Massion (eds), Motor Control, Today and Tomorrow, pp. 197–214. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Sofia: Academic Publishing House.Google Scholar
  45. Paillard, J. 1980. Le corps situé et le corps identifié. Une approche psychophysiologique de la notion de schéma corporel. Rev. Méd. Suisse Romande 100: 129–141.Google Scholar
  46. Paillard, J., Michel, F. and Stelmach, G. 1983. Localization without content. A tactile analogue of ‘blind sight’. Archives Neurologica 40: 548–551.Google Scholar
  47. Perry, J. 1998. Myself and I. In: M. Stamm (ed.), Philosophie in synthetisher Absicht, pp. 83–103. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.Google Scholar
  48. Perry, J. 1993. The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Proust, J. 2003. Perceiving intentions. In: J. Roessler and N. Eilan (eds), Agency and Self-Awareness: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  50. Rizzolatti, G., Fadiga, L., Gallese, V. and Fogassi, L. 1996. Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions. Brain Research Cognition Brain Research 3: 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rochat, P. and Hespos, S. J. 1997. Differential rooting response by neonates: Evidence for an early sense of self. Early Development and Parenting 6(2): 1501–1508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rochat, P. and Striano, T. 2000. Pereived self in infancy. Infant Behavior and Development 23: 513–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roll, J. P. and Roll, R. 1993. Le sentiment d'incarnation: Arguments neurobiologiques. Revue de Médecine Psychosomatique 35: 75–90.Google Scholar
  54. Russell, J. 1995. At two with nature: agency and the development of self-world dualism. In: J. L. Bermudez, A. Marcel and N. Eilan (eds), The Body and the Self, pp. 127–151. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  55. Shoemaker, S. 1996. On knowing one's own mind. In: S. Shoemaker (ed.), The First Person Perspective and Other Essays, pp. 25–49. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Shoemaker, S. 1986. Introspection and the self. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, X, 101–120.Google Scholar
  57. Shoemaker, S. 1984. Personal identity: a materialist's account. In: S. Shoemaker and R. Swinburne (eds), Personal Identity. Oxford Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  58. Shoemaker, S. 1968. Self-reference and self-awareness. Journal of Philosophy 65: 555–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tsakiris, M. and Haggard, P. 2005. Experimenting with the acting self. Cognitive Neuropsychology 22(3/4): 387–407.Google Scholar
  60. Tsakiris, M. and Haggard, P. 2003. Awareness of somatic events associated with a voluntary action. Experimental Brain Research 149(4): 439–446.Google Scholar
  61. Von Holst, E. 1954. Relations between the central nervous system and the peripheral organs. The British Journal of Animal Behavior 2: 89–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Weiskrantz, L., Elliot, J. and Darlington, C. 1971. Preliminary observations of tickling oneself. Nature 230: 598–599.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Wittgenstein, L. 1958. Preliminary Studies for the “Philosophical Investigations”. Blue and Brown Books. Paris: Gallimard (1996).Google Scholar
  64. Wolpert, D. M., Ghahramani, Z. and Jordan, M. I. 1995. An internal model for sensorimotor integration. Science 269: 1880–1882.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Zahavi, D. 2003. Phenomenology of self. In: T. Kircher and A. David (eds), The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Zahavi, D. and Parnas, J. 1999. Phenomenal consciousness and self-awareness: A phenomenological critique of representational theory. In: S. Gallagher and J. Shear (eds), Models of the Self, pp. 253–270. Exeter: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREA, Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie AppliquéeParisFrance

Personalised recommendations