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I Am

A Philosophical Inquiry into First-Person Being

Raymond Tallis

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£35.00

In The Hand, the first volume of his trilogy, Raymond Tallis looked at how humans have avoided the constraints of biology. I Am focuses on two crucial aspects of the escape from being a mere organism: selfhood and agency. These are seen as originating in what Tallis calls the Existential Intuition - the sense 'That I am this' - within the human body. The nature and origin of the Existential Intuition is described in outline and it is related to the certainty of his own existence that Descartes established through his Cogito argument.

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Contents

CONTENTS
PREFACE
CHAPTER 1 THE EXISTENTIAL INTUITION: AN INTRODUCTION
1.1 The Epiphanic Moment
1.2 The Biogenesis of the Existential Intuition
1.3 Preliminary Engagements
CHAPTER 2 "THEREFORE I AM…" THE COGITO ARGUMENT AND THE BIO- LOGIC OF FIRST PERSON IDENTITY
2.1 First-Person Being and the Existential Intuition: Introductory Observations
2.2 The Enduring Significance of the Cogito Argument
2.3 The Boring Logic of Third-Person Identity Statements
2.4 Kripke Tries to Liven Things Up
2.5 The Anomalous (and Interesting) Logic of First-Person
Identity Statements
2.6 The Existential Intuition as a Bio-Logical Assumption
2.7 The Necessary Truth of the Existential Intuition
2.8 The Scope of What is Guaranteed by the Existential Intuition
2.9 The Porosity of the Cartesian Prison
2.10 Cartesianly Preferred and Non-Preferred Thoughts
2.11 The Essential Impurity in the Project of Pure Inquiry
2.12 'I': From Philosophical Grammar to Existential Grammar
2.13 Concluding Comments: The Cogito Argument and the Existential Intuition
CHAPTER 3 FIRST PERSON AUTHORITY AND IMMUNITY FROM ERROR
3.1 What Does the Existential Intuition Place Beyond Doubt?
3.2 The Idea of First Person Authority and its Limits.
3.3 The Bounds of First-Person Certainty
3.4 Widening the Bounds of Certainty
CHAPTER 4 THE LOGICAL NECESSITY OF EMBODIMENT
4.1 Escaping the Cartesian Prison
4.2 "I Think Therefore I Am Embodied"
4.3 Discarnate Existence
4.4 Scepticism about the Necessary Embodiment of the 'I'
4.5 Self-Consciousness, Identity and Embodiment
CHAPTER 5 THE EXISTENTIAL NECESSITY OF EMBODIMENT: NO DA-SEIN WITHOUT FORT-SEIN
5.1 Introduction
5.2 An Ontology that By-Passes Descartes: Exposition
5.3 An Ontology that By-Passes Descartes: Critique
5.4 Some Preliminary Reflections on Fort-sein
5.5 The Body Underwrites Fort-sein
5.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6 REPORTS FROM EMBODIMENT: ON BEING, SUFFERING, HAVING, USING AND KNOWING A BODY
6.1 The Case for Embodiment: A Retrospect
6.2 Modes of Embodiment: Introduction
6.3 Being
6.4 Suffering (with a Glance at Enjoying)
6.5 Having and Using
6.6 Caretaking
6.7 Knowing (and Not Knowing)
6.8 Bodiless Being: A Cartesian Flashback
6.9 Being-a-Body Revisited
6.10 Embodiment: Conclusion
6.11 Delivering Fort-sein: Touching and Seeing
6.12 Further (Even More Puzzled) Reflections on the Body as the Guarantor and Curator of "Here".
6.13 Here and I: Some Final Thoughts
CHAPTER 7 THE EXISTENTIAL INTUITION AND PERSONAL IDENTITY
7.1 Introducing Personal Identity
7.2 Entity and Identity
7.3 Instantaneous and Enduring Identity
7.4 The Existential Intuition and the Enduring Self
7.5 The Persistence of Self: Personal Identity over Time
7.6 Enduring Identity over Time: Inner Aspect Theories
7.7 Enduring Identity over Time: Outer Aspect Theories
7.8 The Unthinkability of Parfit's (and Others') Thought Experiments
7.9 The Diagonal Self
7.10 Being (or Not Being) Oneself
7.11 Concluding Reflections: Identity, "Am", "Is" and the Body
CHAPTER 8 AGENCY AND FIRST-PERSON BEING
8.1 Introduction
8.2 The Encroachment of Determinism
8.3 The Existential Intuition and the Agentive Self
8.4 The Am-Ground of Agency: I as Origin
8.5 The Parallel Expansion of Selfhood and Agency: The Self- Fulfilling Illusion
8.6 The Field of Freedom
8.7 Conclusion
EPILOGUE.

About the Author

Raymond Tallis is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Over the last 15 years he has published extensively outside the field of medicine. There have been three books which mount a critique of post-structuralist theory: Not Saussure: A Critique of Post-saussurean Literary Theory (Macmillan, 2nd edn, 1995), In Defence of Realism (Arnold & University of Nebraska Press, 2nd edn, 1998) and Theorrhoea and After (Macmillan, 1998). He has also published four books in the philosophy of mind: The Explicit Animal: A Defence of Human Consciousness (Macmillan, 1991), The Pursuit of Mind (co-edited with Howard Robinson, Carcanet, 1991), Psycho Electronics (Ferrington, 1994) and On the Edge of Certainty and Other Essays (Macmillan, 1999). Further books include Newton's Sleep: The Two Cultures and the Two Kingdoms (Macmillan, 1995), Enemies of Hope: A Critique of Contemporary Pessimism (Macmillan, 1997) and A Conversation with Martin Heidegger (Macmillan (Palgrave), 2002). An anthology of his theoretical writing - The Raymond Tallis Reader, edited by Michael Grant - was published by Macmillan (Palgrave) in 2000. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (hon causa) at the University of Hull in 1997 for his non-medical writings and the degree of Doctor of Letters (hon causa) at the University of Manchester in 2003 for 'contributions to literary theory and our understanding of human consciousness’. The Knowing Animal is the final volume in the trilogy of books for EUP which began with The Hand and continued with I Am.

Reviews

Raymond Tallis is a man unusual in modern medicine. His career has been devoted to caring for, studying, and advancing the health of older people in society. But while working as a Professor of Geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester, he has developed a parallel career - as a philosopher, critic, poet and novelist - largely unknown to his clinical brotherhood and sisterhood. Indeed, important though his medical work has been, it is likely that his philosophy, and especially his philosophical anthropology will leave a particularly indelible mark on human affairs.
- Richard Horton
He is a splendid exception to the helpless specialisation of our age, being a professor of gerontology who writes clear and useful philosophy. More crucially though, he aims his philosophy at a target that needs it terribly, namely the confused and lazy-minded scientism that blocks our attempts to talk sense about human consciousness.
- Mary Midgley