In this highly original book, Markus Gabriel offers an account of the human self that overcomes the deadlocks inherent in the standard positions of contemporary philosophy of mind. His view, Neo-Existentialism, is thoroughly anti-naturalist in that it repudiates any theory according to which the ensemble of our best natural-scientific knowledge is able to account fully for human mindedness. Instead, he shows that human mindedness consists in an open-ended proliferation of mentalistic vocabularies. Their role in the human life form consists in making sense of the fact that the human being does not merely blend in with inanimate nature and the rest of the animal kingdom. Humans rely on a self-portrait that locates them in the broadest conceivable context of the universe. What distinguishes this self-portrait from our knowledge of natural reality is that we change in light of our true and false beliefs about the human being.
Gabriel’s argument is challenged in this volume by Charles Taylor, Andrea Kern and Jocelyn Benoist. In defending his argument against these and other objections and in spelling out his theory of self-constitution, Gabriel refutes naturalism’s metaphysical claim to epistemic exclusiveness and opens up new paths for future self-knowledge beyond the contemporary ideology of the scientific worldview.
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