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The Phenomenology of Ethical Self-Awareness

Kowalewski, Jakub (2019) The Phenomenology of Ethical Self-Awareness. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis offers a phenomenological study of self-awareness. I argue that, in its most basic form, self-experience consists of two aspects: affectivity and temporality. I then demonstrate that self-awareness can be primarily either affective or temporal. However, in both of its forms, self-experience remains continuous and unitary. I then suggest that continuous and unitary self-awareness is incompatible with experiences of novelty. I argue that in order to accommodate the new, self-experience must become discontinuous and dislodged. I show that the form of self-awareness can be modified by concrete experiences. I then demonstrate that the experience of responsibility for the other produces a new form of self-awareness – one which is neither continuous nor unitary. Consequently, responsibility, by precipitating the emergence of a new form of self-experience, opens subjectivity to new experiences. In fact, the experience of radical novelty consists of a rediscovery of the other in a responsible attitude. I conclude by arguing that, in contrast to the discontinuous and dislodged subjectivity, the continuous and unitary form of self-awareness is incompatible with responsibility and thus with ethics. The distinction between the forms of self-experience incongruent and congruent with ethics, in turn, allows me to suggest an ethical hierarchy of self-awareness: discontinuous and dislodged self-experience is ethically better than its continuous and unitary counterparts. Subjective life, therefore, oscillates between better and worse forms of self-awareness.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Jakub Kowalewski
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2019 16:43
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2019 16:43

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