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Valberg, J.J.

Dream, Death and the Self

"Might this be a dream?" In this book, distinguished philosopher J. J. Valberg approaches the familiar question about dream and reality by seeking to identify its subject matter: what is it that would be the dream if "this" were a dream? It turns out to be a subject matter that contains the whole of the world, space, and time but which, like consciousness for Sartre, is nothing "in itself." This subject matter, the "personal horizon," lies at the heart of the main topics--the first person, the self, and the self in time--explored at length in the book. The personal horizon is, Valberg contends, the subject matter whose center each of us occupies, and which for each of us ceases with death. This ceasing to be presents itself solipsistically not just as the end of everything "for me" but as the end of everything absolutely. Yet since it is the same for everyone, this cannot be. Death thus confronts us with an impossible fact: something that cannot be but will be. The puzzle about death is one of several extraphilosophical puzzles about the self that Valberg discusses, puzzles that can trouble everyday consciousness without any contribution from philosophy. Nor can philosophy resolve the puzzles. Its task is to get to the bottom of them, and in this respect to understand ourselves--a task philosophy has always set itself.

Preface xv

INTRODUCTION: Philosophical Discovery and Philosophical Puzzles 1
Int.1 Discovering What We Already Know 1
Int.2 The Socratic Conception of Philosophical Discovery 2
Int.3 Wittgenstein: Insidership and Philosophical Discovery 3
Int.4 Philosophical Discovery and Resistance 6
Int.5 The Presumptuousness of a Claim to Philosophical Discovery 7
Int.6 Conceptual Analysis and the Communal Horizon 9
Int.7 The Personal Horizon 11
Int.8 Philosophical Anticipations of the Personal Horizon 13
Int.9 Two Types of Philosophical Puzzle 18
Int.10 The Extraphilosophical Puzzles 20


Chapter 1: The Dream Hypothesis and the Argument from Internality 27
1.1 Our Purpose in Raising the Dream Hypothesis 27
1.2 That the Dream/Reality Contrast Is Extrinsic to the Subject Matter of the Dream Hypothesis 28
1.3 The Argument from Internality 31
1.4 Dream and the Law of Excluded Middle 34
1.5 The Dream Hypothesis and Space 40
1.6 The Dream Hypothesis and Time 43
1.7 The Dream Hypothesis and the World 48

Chapter 2: The Dream Hypothesis: Identity and the First Person 53
2.1 A Puzzle about Identity 53
2.2 Representation and Identity 54
2.3 A Way out of the Puzzle 57
2.4 The Dream Hypothesis and the First-Person Singular 61
2.5 The Subject versus the Dreamer of a Dream; The Positional Conception of the Self 64
2.6 Emerging from a Dream and the First Person 68

Chapter 3: The Confusion of Standpoint 71
3.1 Dreams and the Infinity of Time 71
3.2 Time and the Confusion of Standpoint 74
3.3 Descartes and the Dream Hypothesis 76
3.4 Dream Skepticism versus Memory Skepticism 78
3.5 Real-Life Uncertainty about the Dream Hypothesis 80

Chapter 4: The Subject Matter of the Dream Hypothesis 84
4.1 Is the Argument from Internality Valid? 84
4.2 The Subject Matter of the Dream Hypothesis and Grammatical Illusion 86
4.3 Alternative Formulations of the Dream Hypothesis 88
4.4 Reality 91
4.5 What Is the Subject Matter of the Dream Hypothesis? 94
4.6 The Horizonal versus Phenomenal Conception of Mind 97


Chapter 5: The Dream Hypothesis and the Skeptical Challenge 101
5.1 The Skeptical Argument 101
5.2 The Usual Argument for Dream Skepticism; Immanent versus Transcendent Dream Skepticism 105
5.3 The Uniqueness of Transcendent Dream Skepticism 108
5.4 Dream Skepticism and the External World 110
5.5 Nozick on the Tank Hypothesis 113

Chapter 6: Responding to Dream Skepticism 119
6.1 Is the Dream Hypothesis a Pseudo Hypothesis? 119
6.2 Whether It Would Matter if THIS Were a Dream 122
6.3 The General Form of My Response to the Dream Hypothesis 126
6.4 I Am with Others: Metaphysical Equality and the Claim to Preeminence 128
6.5 The Commitment to (O) 131
6.6 Raising the Dream Hypothesis in Conversation: Forcing a Withdrawal to the First Person 134
6.7 Withdrawing to the First Person and the Horizonal Use of the First Person 136
6.8 Why It Is Rationally Impossible to Believe the Dream Hypothesis 138
6.9 The Space of Horizons 141
6.10 Other Minds 144
6.11 Skepticism and Solipsism 146


Chapter 7: I Will Die 153
7.1 Dream and Death; Discovering the Meaning of Death 153
7.2 Being Disturbed by the Prospect of Death 154
7.3 That the Prospect of Death Holds Up Something Not Just Awful but Incomprehensible; Death and Self-Deception 157
7.4 Reacting to the Prospect of Death: A Text 160
7.5 Philosophical Reflection and Real-Life Disturbance 165

Chapter 8: The Subject Matter and "Mineness" of My Death 168
8.1 The Prospect of Death 168
8.2 I Will Cease to Be 171
8.3 Death and the Stream of Mental States 173
8.4 The World and the Subject Matter of Death 177
8.5 The "Mineness" of My Death and the Horizonal Use of the First Person 181


Chapter 9: Solipsism 185
9.1 My Horizon and the Horizon 185
9.2 The Solipsism of Wittgenstein´s Tractatus 188
9.3 Solipsism and Self-Consciousness 192
9.4 Kripke on the Solipsism of the Tractatus 195
9.5 Negativism 198

Chapter 10: Death and the Truth of Solipsism 201
10.1 Solipsism and My Life with Others 201
10.2 Relativized Solipsism 204
10.3 Solipsism and the Meaning of Death 206
10.4 Qualifying the NOTHINGNESS of Death 209

Chapter 11: The Awfulness and Incomprehensibility of Death 215
11.1 The Awfulness of Death 215
11.2 The Two Forms of the Impossibility of Death 219
11.3 The Temporal Impossibility of Death 220
11.4 Consciousness and Causation 222
11.5 The Solipsistic Impossibility of Death 227
11.6 The "Aloneness" of the Dying Subject 228
11.7 The Puzzles of Death and the Causation of Consciousness 232


Chapter 12: Imagination and the Cartesian Self 237
12.1 What Is "the Self"? 237
12.2 The Cartesian Argument 237
12.3 Imagination and Proof 240
12.4 Exhibiting Possibilities in Imagination 242
12.5 Imagination and Experiential Possibility 245
12.6 Experiential Possibilities and Possibilities of Essence 247
12.7 The Paralogism of Imagination 249
12.8 The Cartesian Reply 251

Chapter 13: Metaphysical Possibility and the Self 255
13.1 Metaphysical Possibility 255
13.2 Metaphysical Possibility and the Self 257
13.3 The Logic of the Self 259
13.4 Naturalizing the Self 261


Chapter 14: Preliminary Reflections on the Positional Conception of the Self 264
14.1 Nagel´s Puzzle about "Being Me" 264
14.2 Individual Essence: Frege on Our "Particular and Primitive" Mode of Self-Presentation 265
14.3 My Body and Me (the Human Being That I Am) 269
14.4 The Multiplicity of the Phenomenology of the Subject Position 271
14.5 The Standing/Operative Ambiguity 273
14.6 Causal Centrality 275
14.7 Causation and the Phenomenology of the Subject Position 279
14.8 Orientational Centrality 281
14.9 The Sense in Which the Positional and Horizonal Conceptions of the Self Are "Always in Play" 282

Chapter 15: The Phenomenology of the Subject Position 286
15.1 Perceptual Centrality: The Visual and Tactual Appearing of My Body 286
15.2 Perceptual Centrality: The Visual Appearing of Myself 290
15.3 Perceptual Centrality: Views of Myself 293
15.4 Centrality of Feeling: Figuring as the Space of Feeling 297
15.5 The Centrality of Feeling: The Sense in Which the Space of Feeling (My Body-Space) Is a "Space" 299
15.6 Centrality of Feeling: The Ontological Dependence of My Body-Space on My Body 304
15.7 Volitional Centrality: Acting/Will and the Phenomenology of the Subject Position 307
15.8 Volitional Centrality: The Phenomenology of Will 309
15.9 Volitional Centrality: The "Mineness" of My Actions 315
15.10 Volitional Centrality: Phenomenology and Causality 319


Chapter 16: The Uses of the First Person 321
16.1 Introduction 321
16.2 The Referential Use of the First Person 322
16.3 Reference and the Use of "I" as Subject/Object 324
16.4 "I Am Thinking . . . /I See . . ." 329
16.5 The Positional Use of the First Person 334
16.6 The Horizonal Use of the First Person 337

Chapter 17: What Makes First-Person Reference First Personal? 342
17.1 The Meaning of the Question We Are Asking 342
17.2 Following the Rule for the Use of "I" 343
17.3 Inner First-Person Reference 346
17.4 Attitudes de Se 351
17.5 First-Person Reference and the Positional Conception of the Self 354
17.6 The First Person and Emptiness at the Center 355


Chapter 18: Temporalizing the Self 359
18.1 Introduction 359
18.2 Tense and the Phenomenology of the Subject Position 360
18.3 The Tense Asymmetry in the Phenomenology of the Subject Position 364
18.4 Tense and the Horizonal Self 366

Chapter 19: The Problem of Personal Identity 370
19.1 The Special Philosophical Problem of Personal Identity: The Problem of First-Person Identity 370
19.2 Imagining Myself Persisting through a Change of Human Beings (Bodies) 373
19.3 Locke´s View of Personal Identity 376
19.4 Persistence and the Horizon 380
19.5 Remembering; The Past-Self Ambiguity 382
19.6 Possibility, Personal Identity, and Naturalizing the Self 387

Chapter 20: Time and the Horizon 394
20.1 The Oneness of the Horizon 394
20.2 Skepticism about the Oneness over Time of My Horizon 397
20.3 Kant´s Third Paralogism: The Self "in Time" and the Self That "Time Is In" 400

Chapter 21: My Past 408
21.1 The Availability in Memory of Past Events 408
21.2 The Argument from Pastness 410
21.3 Being Open to the Availability of the Past 413
21.4 Memory Images 417
21.5 Letting the Past Be Past 420
21.6 Moving from Inside to Outside the Sphere of Phenomenological Reflection 422
21.7 The Puzzle of Memory and the Puzzle of Experience 426
21.8 The Puzzle of Memory and the Problems of First-Person Identity 429

Chapter 22: My Future 432
22.1 My Future versus the Future 432
22.2 My Future and My Brain: Jumping over Death 434
22.3 Parfit on My Future Self 439
22.4 Nozick´s "Closest Continuer" Theory 444

Chapter 23: My Future: The Puzzle of Division 450
23.1 Personal Identity and Possibility (Review) 450
23.2 The Possibility of Division 451
23.3 Parfit on Division 454
23.4 Other Responses to the Puzzle of Division: Nozick and Lewis 458
23.5 The Puzzle of Division and the Identity-Framework 463
23.6 Horizonal Doubling versus Splits within the Horizon 465
23.7 The Impossibility of Horizonal Doubling 468
23.8 The Unity of Consciousness 470
23.9 The Puzzle of Division 472

Chapter 24: Conclusion: The Extraphilosophical Puzzles 474
24.1 The Extra- versus Purely Philosophical Puzzles 474
24.2 The Puzzle of Division as an Extraphilosophical Puzzle 476
24.3 The Puzzle of Division and the Puzzle of the Causation of Consciousness 478
24.4 Our Causal Entrapment in the World 480
24.5 The Extraphilosophical Puzzles and the Horizonal Subject Matter 482

Bibliography 487
Index 491

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