The Pre-reflective Situational Self

Robert W. Clowes, Klaus Gärtner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is often held that to have a conscious experience presupposes having some form of implicit self-awareness. The most dominant phenomenological view usually claims that we essentially perceive experiences as our own. This is the so called “mineness” character, or dimension of experience. According to this view, mineness is not only essential to conscious experience, it also grounds the idea that pre-reflective self-awareness constitutes a minimal self. In this paper, we show that there are reasons to doubt this constituting role of mineness. We argue that there are alternative possibilities and that the necessity for an adequate theory of the self within psychopathology gives us good reasons to believe that we need a thicker notion of the pre-reflective self. To this end, we develop such a notion: the Pre-Reflective Situational Self. To do so, we will first show how alternative conceptions of pre-reflective self-awareness point to philosophical problems with the standard phenomenological view. We claim that this is mainly due to fact that within the phenomenological account the mineness aspect is implicitly playing several roles. Consequently, we argue that a thin interpretation of pre-reflective self-awareness—based on a thin notion of mineness—cannot do its needed job within, at least within psychopathology. This leads us to believe that a thicker conception of pre-reflective self is needed. We, therefore, develop the notion of the pre-reflective situational self by analyzing the dynamical nature of the relation between self-awareness and the world, specifically through our interactive inhabitation of the social world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623–637
Number of pages15
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ipseity
  • Minimal self
  • Pre-reflective self awareness
  • Predictive processing
  • Schizophrenia
  • Situatedness
  • Virtual self


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