The present article is limited to research studies focused on understanding the phenomenon and construction of the concept of ‘Self.’ When we look at one’s experience of the Self, as a whole, it involves various components associated with different aspects like self-identification, self-location and the sense of the existence of oneself or the sense of Self. While exploring the Self phenomenon, many scientific studies consider only partial aspects of the experience, and hence any understanding resulting from such an evaluation makes it difficult to comment on the nature of the Self. We emphasize that while studying the Self, to understand it totally, one would need to include all the components of the Self. In this connection, we raise the following two theses: a) Ontologically, the Self is conceived as a sentient entity, the bearer of the “what it is like to be” type of feeling, and b) Phenomenologically, we do not have a direct apprehension of the Self, but experience various aspects of the Self through the Senses of Existence, Identification, and Location.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
In this article, we address the ontological and phenomenological status of the conscious psychological Self with capitol S (in order to distinguish it from the prefix “self”).
Ainsworth, T. (2016). Form vs. Matter. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/form-matter/. Accessed 29 Jan 2019.
Allen, C. & Trestman, M. (2016). Animal consciousness. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter Edition).
Alsmith, A. J. T., & Longo, M. R. (2014). Where exactly am I? Self-location judgements distribute between head and torso. Consciousness and Cognition, 24, 70–74.
Ananthaswamy, A. (2015). The man who wasn’t there: Investigations into the strange new science of the self. Dutton.
Blanke, O. (2012). Multisensory brain mechanisms of bodily self-consciousness. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13, 556–571.
Blanke, O., & Metzinger, T. (2009). Full-body illusions, and minimal phenomenal selfhood. Trends in Cognitive Science, 13, 7–13.
Boly, M., Seth, A. K., Wilke, M., Ingmundson, P., Baars, B., Laureys, S., et al. (2013). Consciousness in humans and non-human animals: Recent advances and future directions. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 625. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00625.
Broglio, C., Gómez, A., Durán, E., Salaa, C., & Rodriguez, F. (2011). Brain and cognition in teleost fish. In C. Brown, K. Laland, & J. Krause (Eds.), Fish Cognition and Behavior (pp. 324–358). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Burton, R. A. (2008). On being certain: Believing you are right even when you’re not. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin (Reprint edition).
Camus, A. (1991). The myth of Sisyphus and other essays. New York: Vintage.
Carver, C. S. (2002). Self-awareness. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 179–196). New York: Guilford Press.
Clark, A. (2015). Embodied prediction. In T. Metzinger & J. M. Windt (Eds.), Open MIND: 7(T). Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group. https://doi.org/10.15502/9783958570115.
Colombetti, G. (2009). From affect programs to dynamical discrete emotions. Philosophical Psychology, 22(4), 407–425.
Cook, R. G., & Smith, J. D. (2006). Stages of abstraction and exemplar memorization in pigeon category learning. Psychological Science, 17, 1069–1066. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01833.x.
Dahl, C. J., Lutz, A., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: Cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice. Trends in Cognitive Science, 19(9), 515–523.
Damasio, A. (2003). Feelings of emotion and the self. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1001(1), 253–261.
Damasio, A. (1999). The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making of consciousness. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Damasio, A. (2010). Self comes to mind: Constructing the conscious brain. New York: Random Hause.
Danziger, K. (1980). The history of introspection reconsidered. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 16(3), 241–262.
Descartes, R. (1911). Meditations on first philosophy. In Elizabeth S. Haldane (trans.), The Philosophical Works of Descartes pp. 9. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Epstein, M. (1986). Meditative transformations of narcissism. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 18(2), 143–158.
Fabbro, F., Aglioti, S. M., Bergamasco, M., Clarici, A., & Panksepp, J. (2015). Evolutionary aspects of self- and world consciousness in vertebrates. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 157. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00157.
Feinberg, T. E. (1997). Some interesting perturbations of the self in neurology. Seminars in Neurology, 17, 129–135.
Feinberg, T. E. (2002). How the brain creates the self, Commentary on "The Concept of the Self and the Self Representation". Neuro-psychoanalysis, 4, 31–35.
Feinberg, T.E. (2009). From Axons to Identity: Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self. Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, W. W. Norton & Company.
Feinberg, T. E. (2010). Neuropathologies of the self: A general theory. Neuropsychoanalysis, 12, 133–158.
Feinberg, T. E. (2011). The nested neural hierarchy and the self. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(1), 4–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2010.09.016.
Feinberg, T. E., & Keenan, J. P. (2004). Not what, but where, is your "self". Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, 6, 49–62.
Feinberg, T. E., & Keenan, J. P. (2005). The lost self: Pathologies of the brain and identity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Feinberg, T. E., & Mallatt, J. (2013). The evolutionary and genetic origins of consciousness in the Cambrian period over 500 million years ago. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 667. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00667.
Feinberg, T. E., & Mallatt, J. (2016). The nature of primary consciousness: A new synthesis. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 113–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2016.05.009.
Friston, K. (2018). Am I self-conscious? (or does self-organization entail self consciousness?). Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 579. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00579.
Fuchs, T., Sattel, H., & Henningsen, P. (Eds.). (2010). The embodied self. Dimensions, coherence and disorders. Stuttgart: Schattauer.
Gallagher, S. (2000). Philosophical conceptions of the self: Implications for cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 14–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(99)01417-5.
Gallagher, S. (2011). The Oxford handbook of the self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gallagher, S., & Zahavi, D. (2007). The phenomenological mind: An introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science. New York: Routledge.
Gallup, G. G. (1985). Do mind exist in species other than our own? Neuroscience and Bio-behavioral Reviews, 9, 631–641.
Gardiner, J. M. (2000). On the objectivity of subjective experiences of autonoetic and noetic consciousness. In E. Tulving (Ed.), Memory, consciousness, and the brain: The Tallinn conference (pp. 159–172). Philadelphia: The Psychology Press.
Hermans, H. J. M. (2012). Dialogical self theory and the increasing multiplicity of I-positions in a globalizing society: An introduction. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2012, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20014.
Hermans, H. J. M., & Gieser, T. (Eds.). (2012). Handbook of dialogical self theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-1-107-00651-5.
Hills, T. T., & Butterfill, S. (2015). From foraging to autonoetic consciousness: The primal selfas a consequence of embodied prospective foraging. Current Zoology, 61(2), 368–381.
Houdé, O., Zago, L., Crivello, F., Moutier, S., Pineau, A., Mazoyer, B., et al. (2001). Access to deductive logic depends on a right ventromedial prefrontal area devoted to emotion and feeling: Evidence from a training paradigm. Neuroimage, 14, 1486–1492.
Jack, A. I. (2013). Introspection: The tipping point. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(2), 670–671.
Jackson, P. L., & Decety, J. (2004). Motor cognition: A new paradigm to study the self and other interactions. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14, 259–263.
Jeannerod, M. (2008). The sense of agency and its disturbances in schizophrenia: A reappraisal. Experimental Brain Research, 192(3), 527–532. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1533-3.
Kircher, T., & David, A.S. (2003). Self consciousness: An integrative approach from philosophy, psychopathology and the neurosciences. In Kircher, T. & A.S. David (eds.), The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry (pp. 445–474), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kyselo, M. (2014). The body social: An enactive approach to the self. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 986.
Leary, M. R., & Buttermore, N. R. (2003). The evolution of the human self: Tracing the natural history of self-awareness. Journal of the Theory of Social Behaviour, 33(4), 365–404.
Llinás, R. R. (2002). I of the vortex: From neurons to self. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Llinás, R. R., & Roy, S. (2009). The ‘prediction imperative’ as the basis for self-awareness. Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society B, 364, 1301–1307.
McAdams, D. P., & McLean, K. C. (2013). Narrative identity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(3), 233–238. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721413475622.
Menon, S., Sinha, A., & B.V. Sreekantan (Eds.) (2014). Interdisciplinary perspectives on consciousness and the self. Springer India. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-1587-5__22.
Metzinger, T. (2010). The Ego tunnel: The science of the mind and the myth of the self (p. 75). New York: Basic Books.
Mitchell, R. W. (1993). Mental models of mirror-self-recognition: Two theories. New Ideas in Psychology, 11, 295–325.
Mitchell, R. W. (2002). Subjectivity and self-recognition in animals. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 567–595). New York: Guilford Press.
Morin, A. (2003). Inner speech and conscious experience. Science & Consciousness Review (April, No. 4).
Morin, A. (2005). Possible links between self-awareness and inner speech: Theoretical background, underlying mechanisms, and empirical evidence. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12(4–5), 115–134.
Morin, A. (2006). Levels of consciousness and self-awareness: A comparison and integration of various neurocognitive views. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 358–371.
Nagel, T. (1984). What is it like to be a bat? The Philosophical Review, 83(4), 435–450.
Nagel, T. (1986). The View from Nowhere (p. 55). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Natsoulas, T. (1998). Consciousness and self-awareness. In M. D. Ferrari & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Self-awareness: Its nature and development (pp. 12–33). New York: The Guilford Press.
Newen, A., & Vogeley, K. (2003). Self-representation: Searching for a neural signature of self-consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition, 12, 529–543.
Noel, J. P., Pfeifer, C., Blanke, O., & Serino, A. (2015). Peripersonal space as the space of the bodily self. Cognition, 114, 49–57.
Pereira, C. (2016). Consciousness is quantum computed beyond the limits of the brain: A perspective conceived from cases studied for Hydranencephaly. NeuroQuantology, 14(3), 613–618. https://doi.org/10.14704/nq.2016.14.3.901.
Pereira Jr, A. (2013). Triple-aspect monism: A conceptual framework for the science of human consciousness, In: The Unity of mind, brain and world: Current perspectives on a science of Consciousness, A. Pereira Jr. and D. Lehmann, eds, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 299–337.
Pereira, A., Jr. (Ed.). (2014). Triple-aspect monism: Physiological, mental unconscious and conscious aspects of brain activity. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 13, 201–227.
Pereira, A., Jr., Foz, F. B., & Rocha, A. F. (2017). The dynamical signature of conscious processing: From modality-specific percepts to complex episodes. Psychology of Consciousness, 4(2), 230–247.
Reddy, J. S. K. (2017). A novel subject-object model of consciousness. NeuroQuantology, 15(1), 79–85. https://doi.org/10.14704/nq.2017.15.1.977.
Reddy, J. S. K., & Pereira, C. (2018). The boy who grew a new brain: Understanding this miracle from a neuro-quantum perspective. NeuroQuantology, 16(7), 39–48. https://doi.org/10.14704/nq.2018.16.7.1687.
Reddy, J. S. K., & Roy, S. (2018). Commentary: Patanjali and neuroscientific research on meditation. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 248. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00248.
Renzi, C., Ricciardi, E., Bonino, D., Handjaras, G., Vecchi, T., & Pietrini, P. (2013). The effects of visual control and distance in modulating Peripersonal spatial representation. PLoS One, 8(3), e59460. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059460.
Rizzolatti, G., Scandolara, C., Matelli, M., & Gentilucci, M. (1981). Afferent properties of periarcuate neurons in macaque monkeys I. Somatosensory Responses. Behavioural Brain Research, 2(2), 125–146.
Rizzolatti, G., Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L., & Gallese, V. (1997). The space around us. Science, 277(5323), 190–191.
Rochat, P. (2003). Six levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life. Consciousness and Cognition, 12(4), 717–731.
Serino, A., Alsmith, A., Costantini, M., Mandrigin, A., Tajadura-Jimenez, A., & Lopez, C. (2013). Bodily ownership and self-location: Components of bodily self-consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(4), 1239–1252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2013.08.013.
Seth, A. K. (2013). Interoceptive inference, emotion, and the embodied self. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(11), 565–573. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2013.09.007.
Shear, J. (2014). Converging on the self: Western philosophy, eastern meditation and scientific research. In S. Menon, A. Sinha, & B. Skreekantan (Eds.), Interdisciplinary perspectives on consciousness and the self (pp. 41–50). New Delhi: Springer.
Siderits, M., Thompson, E., & Zahavi, D. (Eds.). (2013). Self, no self?: Perspectives from analytical, phenomenological, and Indian traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thompson, E. (2011). Self-No-Self? Memory and Reflexive Awareness. In: Siderits, M; Thompson, E;
Trehub, A. (1991). The cognitive brain. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Uexküll, J. V. (1934). Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. Berlin: Springer.
Vago, D. R., & Silbersweig, D. A. (2012). Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): A framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6, 296.
Vandekerckhove, M., & Panksepp, J. (2009). The flow of anoetic to noetic and autonoetic consciousness: A vision of unknowing (anoetic) and knowing (noetic) consciousness in the remembrance of things past and imagined futures. Consciousness and Cognition, 18, 1018–1028.
Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1993). The embodied mind: cognitive science and human experiences. Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Wang, F., & Pereira, A., Jr. (2016). Neuromodulation, emotional feelings and affective disorders. Mens Sana Monographs, 14, 5–29.
Wearing, D. (2005) Forever today: A true story of lost memory and never-ending love. London; Corgi.
Weger, U., Wagemann, J., & Meyer, A. (2018). Introspection in psychology: Its contribution to theory and method in memory research. European Psychologist, 23, 206–216. https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000296.
Zahavi, D. (2017). Consciouness and (minimal) selfhood: getting clearer on for-me-ness and mineness. In U. Kriegel (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
We thank our reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions that helped in improving the paper. Prof. Sisir Roy is indebted to the Homi Bhabha Trust, Mumbai for their support.
Conflict of Interest
No conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Reddy, J.S.K., Roy, S., de Souza Leite, E. et al. The ‘Self’ Aspects: the Sense of the Existence, Identification, and Location. Integr. psych. behav. 53, 463–483 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-019-9476-8
- The self
- Minimal self