The subjectivity of self and its ontology: From the world–brain relation to the point of view in the world

Georg Northoff, David Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The search for the subjective nature of our self is intensely debated in philosophy and neuroscience. However, despite all progress, the subjectivity of self and how it fits into the seemingly objective world remains elusive. Drawing on recent empirical data, we show how the self is shaped by the brain’s scale-free activity, that is, long-range temporal correlation (LRTC) and the world’s ecological context. We assume that the scale-free LRTC of the world–brain relation provides the ontological basis for the point of view as the foundation of subjectivity within the world. We conclude that the temporal, that is, scale-free based point of view through the world–brain relation provides the ontologically necessary a posteriori condition for the subjectivity of self on a deeper neuro-ecological level. This extends phenomenological concepts like subjectivity and world beyond both Heidegger’s fundamental ontology and Sartre’s phenomenological ontology: it complements their subjectivity-based ontologies with a truly world-based ontology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory and Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Heidegger
  • point of view
  • scale-free activity of the brain
  • self
  • subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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