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TheselfRealorIllusory?

TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

Introduction Whatistheself?Thisisabigquestionandperhapsoneofthemostintriguingand enigmaticquestionswithinphilosophy.Therearemanyrelatedproblemstothisquestion, andtherehasbeenmanyaccountsontheselfthroughoutthehistoryofphilosophy. Iwillinthispaperinvestigatethenarrativeaccountoftheself.Iwillstartthispaperwitha shortdescriptionofnarrativity.Sincenarrativityisahermeneuticapproachtounderstand theself,IwilltheninvestigatethehermeneuticsofMartinHeidegger(18891976),andhow itisderivedfromphenomenology.Iwillthenlookattheaccountsofnarrativityasdescribed byPaulRicoeur(19132005)andKimAtkins.IwillthenturntoHansGeorgGadamerand histheoriesoftheartworkandtheaestheticexperience.Iwillthenlookatthesetheoriesin relationtonarrativity.Thiswillunfoldinthediscussionsection,whereIwillargueforthe possibilityofTheconstitutionoftheselfthroughart,whichismymainphilosophical probleminthispaper. Narrativeidentity Sowhatisnarrativity?Therearemanydifferentaccounts,butbasicallyitstheidea,thatwe canunderstandwhowearebytellingastoryaboutourself.Theselfisconstructedby narratives.Narrativistsrejectreductionisticapproacheswheretheselfisreducedtoa singlesubstanceorentity(seeMackenzie2008p.6).Previousphilosophicaltheorieson theselfcanroughlybedividedintotheoriesfromtheanalyticandthecontinentaltraditions respectively.Oneofthemaindebatesintheanalytictraditionconcernswhetherbodily continuityorpsychologicalcontinuityisthecorrectcriterionforcontinuityofpersonal identity(ibid.p.3).Themainquestionsinthisdebateareifthepersonseemstohavethe samebodyattwodifferentmomentsintime,andwhetherthereisaninnerpsychological connectionovertimelikeamemoryorastreamofconsciousness.Incontinentaltradition, weseeanemphasisonthefirstpersondescriptionoftheselfandacarefullyanddetailed descriptionofthephenomenonsastheyappearfromafirstpersonperspective.Orwhat couldbeunderstoodasaphenomenologicaldescriptionoftheself. Fromphenomenologytohermeneutics Thedisclosureoftheselfbyphenomenologicaldescriptionshasitsrootsinthefounderof phenomenologyEdmundHusserl,whoIwillreturnto.Hisworkonphenomenologywas laterdevelopedbyMartinHeidegger,whomIwillturntonow. MartinHeideggermovesawayfromtheoreticalcontemplationwithinphenomenology (Moranp.197)andemphasiseshowDaseinistemporallyandpracticallyinvolvedinthe world.Heideggerrightlyseesthattraditionalmetaphysicsandtheologyhadanorientation towardsthinkingoftrueBeingastimeless,eternal,unchanging(Ibid.p.198).Rather Daseinisalwaysthrownintotheworld.Alwayspartofacontextitcannotescape.our
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

understandingisinterpretativefromtheverystartandthatinterpretativeinvolvementwith thingsneednotbeatalevelofintellectionorcognition,butmoreusuallycomesin concernful,practicaldealings(ibid.p.231).Daseinisdoingthingspracticallyandactively beforeittheorizesoverthesewaysofbeing.Thismeansthatphenomenologycannot standaloneasatheory,whichdescribesourlifefromapointoutsidetheworld.Itneedsto beaccompaniedbyinterpretation.ItispartoftheverynatureofDaseintointerpretitself. AndthisisthebackgroundforHeideggersphenomenologicalhermeneutics.Thisdoesn't meanthatDaseinisalwaysinterpretingitself.Daseinisalsocharacterisedbyits everydayness:Asimplewayofliving,bywhichitactsandlivesitslifewithoutreflectingon itsownexistence.ThisiscoveredbyHeidegger'stermVerfallen.Ourlivedexperiences arepracticalbodilyencounterswiththingsinourenvironment:forexample,inmoving aroundaroomIaminanencounterwithathingintheenvironment(Umweltding)(ibid.p. 232).HeideggermovesawayfromHusserlsmethodthephenomenologicalreflection.A methodwhereyoususpendyourprejudicesaboutthephenomenonsinquestion. Heideggerarguesthatwecannotavoidourinvolvementintheworld,andthishastobe takingintoaccountwhenanalysingDasein.HestressesDaseinisapractical beingintheworld:Wearebeingsinanimmediatecontactwithobjectsaroundus.We alreadyknowthepracticaluseoftoolslikeahammer.Theactiveuseofanobjectasa hammerisprimarytolabelornamethisobjectasahammer(seeHeidegger:p.98). Heideggersphenomenologyisinthissensequiteantiintellectual.Ourlabelingand thematizingofobjectsarerationalthoughts,whicharesubordinatetoourimmediateand practicalbeingintheworld.abstractingfromthesepracticalengagementswiththethings makesitanobjectoftheoreticalstudy(Moran.p.232)andthisiswhatHeideggerwantsto avoid.Daseinpossessesapreunderstandingofitsdailybeingintheworld,andthisis whatHeideggerwantstotakeintoaccountwhendescribingDaseinmeaningthat interpretationneedstofollowthephenomenologicaldescriptionofDasein. PaulRicoeur Incontemporaryphilosophywefindaccountsoftheselfthatdrawsonboththeanalytical andthecontinentaltradition.OneoftheseaccountsstemsfromPaulRicoeurandhis theoriesofnarrativeidentity,whichisdevelopedinTempsetRcit(198385)and Soimmecommeunautre(1990). Inchapter5ofthelatter,Ricoeurshowshownarrativeidentitycanconstitutetheself.Initially hedifferentiatesbetweentwokindsofidentity:Identityasidem(sameness)andidentityas ipse(selfhood)(Ricoeur1990:p.140).Idemisunderstoodasthatwhichresistschange (Zahavi.p.108)andipseisunderstoodthroughselfunderstanding(ibid.p.108).Ipseis abletochangeandmutate,itisthequalitiesofapersonandconcernspersonalitytraits andbehaviour.
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

Ricoeurarguesthatwedontgetanadequateaccountoftheselfifwedontanalyse identityasbothidemandipseity.OnthatmatterRicoeuraddressesanaccountfromthe analyticaltradition,whichfailstoaccountforthisdialectic:DanielParfitusesinReasons andPersonspuzzlingcasestoargueforareductionistaccountoftheself.Accordingto Ricoeur,hisanalysissedroulentsurunplanolidentitnepeutsignifierquemmet (Ricoeur.p.156)thusrejectingthedialecticnatureoftheself.Ratheritisthroughthe dialecticbetweenidemandipsethattheselfisconstituted,asRicoeurargues.Itiswhen weidentifyourselfwiththenarrativesthatitbecomespartofusandwhoweare:Pourune grandepart,eneffet,lidentitdunepersonne,dunecommunaut,estfaitedeces indentificationsdesvaleurs,desnormes,desideaux,desmodles,deshros,dans lesquelslapersonne,lacommunautsereconnaissent(ibid.p.146).Thestoryitself,the narrative,isntenoughaccordingtoRicoeur.Weneedtoacceptthesenarrativesand identifywiththem.Theconstitutionofselfthroughnarrationisntonlythestorywetellabout ourself,butalsoabouthowweinterpretandacceptthestories,events,actionsand people,whichoccurinourlife. Theparadoxofchangeandtime Thenarrativeapproachisawaytodealwiththeparadoxeswefacewhenwecontemplate onourexperiences.Ricoeurpointstowardoneoftheseparadoxes:Lapermanencedans letemps(ibid.p.140).Whenweaskthequestionabouthowwecanaccountforour changeovertime,andyetseemtokeepthesameself,weaddresstheparadoxofchange andtime.AparadoxwhichgoesbacktoHeraclituswhofamouslystatedthatnomanever stepsinthesamerivertwice(PlatoCratylus402a=A6).AccordingtoKimAtkinsthereis akindoftimewhichweallshareandwhichweunderstandbyclocksandcalendars.This isthecosmologicaltime.Thenthereisourinnerandprivatetime,whichfollowsitsown paste.Thisiscalledthephenomenologicaltime(Atkins.p.1112).Byplottingour experiencesintoacoherentnarrativewetakeourownphenomenologicalexperiencesand sharethemwithothersinawaymeaningfultoothers.Inthatwaywebridgethegap betweenourinnerandouterworlds.Wecreateanewtime,ahumantime(Zahavi:s. 106).Inthissense,thenarrativetheoryseemstoaccountforbothourinnerandpersonal lifeandtheobjectivethirdpersonperspective.Thedilemmahasthroughoutthehistoryof philosophybeenpresentedfromtwooppositesites:Ontheonehandanentitywhich resistschangethecartesiancogito.OntheotherhandthepositionsofHumeand Nietzsche,whoheldanidenticalsubjecttobenothingbutasubstantialistillusion(ibid.p. 108).AccordingtoRicoeur,thenarrativetheoryneutralizesthisdilemmaandaccountsfor theselfasbothanentitywhichstaysthesameandsomethingwhichcanincludechanges andmutationswithinthecohesionofalifetime(ibid.p.108).Thisleadstoanothertheorist ofthenarrativeaccount,KimAtkins,whoalsomentionstheconvergenceofinterest
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

betweenphilosophersintheContinentalandAngloAmericantraditions(Atkins2008.p. 78)regardingthetopicoftheself,amongothers. Reflectionandselfconstitution AtkinspointofdepartureisMaryaSchechtmanspracticalapproachtounderstandingthe self.AtkinsalsoreferstoGabrielMarcelwhodifferentiatesbetweenprimaryand secondaryreflection:Thefirstiswhenyouinsomewaygetdisturbedwhilebeinginan unreflectivestate.Thiscouldbesomethingrathertrivialastrippingonyourshoelace(ibid. p.80).Thelatterisadisturbanceinthewayyousense,valueandunderstandyourself.In thiscaseamoreprofoundandexistentialreflectionaboutwhoyouarebegins.Atkins describesthisasastatewhereyouareboththeobjectandthesubjectofthedisturbance (ibid.p.81).Youseeyourselffrombothafirstandathirdpersonperspective.The secondaryreflectionisselfconstitutinginthewaythatyouvalueandjudgeyourself.It motivatesyoutofindanewwayofseeingyourself.Youobserveyourselfasanobject.As somethingguiltyofdoingsomethingsodisturbing,thatyouhavetoreconsiderthewayyou comprehendwhoyouare.Activityiscentralintheprocessofselfconstitution:Secondary reflectionemphasizestheactiveroleofthefirstpersonperspectiveintheconstitutionof identity(ibid.p.81).Itisintheactofidentifyingwithyourselfthatyousecure selfconstancy(ibid.p.82).Theidentityisconstitutedthroughanactiveprocessof selfascriptionbytheinnerfirstpersonperspective.Inthisprocessthebodyisseenasa numericbodyoutsideofoneself.Thenarrativemodeldeploystheactivityandpassivity characteristicoftheambiguitiesofanembodiedandsociallymediatedsubjectivity,an ambiguitythatplaysoutinadialecticoftheselfasboththereaderandwriterofones lifestory,adialecticalconstructionthatpassesthroughawebofsocialandintersubjective relationsandmeanings(ibid..p.95).WithAtkinsaccountwesensebothanemphasison thebodilyperspectiveontheself,andaswithRicoeur,acertaindialecticbetween oppositepoles.Selfconstitutionismadebythesecondaryreflection,wheretheself activelyreadsandwritesitslifestory.Theselfthenbecomesaproductofthenarrative,a constructionbaseduponthewaywe,throughreflection,interpretourlives. IfweholdRicoeursandAtkinstheoriesfortrue,thenwehavepavedthewayfor introducingthepossibilitiesandeffectsofartinthenarrativeprocess.Theprocesswhere theagentlooksbackonpasteventsandtriestoplacetheminameaningfulnarrative.Iwill thereforeturntoHansGeorgGadamersanalysisoftheartworkandtheaesthetic experience. Gadamer'saesthetics ThephilosophyofGadamerisheavilyinfluencedbythatofHeidegger.HismainworkTruth andMethodisadevelopmentofthephenomenologicalhermeneuticsofHeidegger.In
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

Gadamersanalysishe,amongothers,addressesthenotionofartandhowitfunctionsin regardtoourwayofinterpretingourlives.AsHeidegger,heunderstandsartassomething abletobringforththetruth.Assomethingexposingthetruenatureofthings.Heidegger interpretstheGreektermfortruth,aletheia,ashavingtheetymologicalsenseof disclosing(...)thatis:makingmanifestthatwhichinsomesenselieshidden(Moran.p. 230).Thetruthisseenasunconcealmentofsomethingasitis,initself. HeideggerusestheGreektermlogostodescribethewayinwhichweuncoverthingsin themselves,asbeingtrue.Logosistranslatedasredeingermananddiscoursein english.Etymologically,logosmeanstoletsomethingbeseen(ibid.p.229).Artis,as logos,abletouncoverthetruth,buttheartworkinvolvesandaffectsusinawaywhich languageisnotabletodescribeexhaustively:etkunstvrksindholdkankunforsts gennemdetsunikkeformoghemmelighedenveddetsindtryk,somintetsprogheltformr atindfange(Gadamer.p.55).Ithasthesameabilitiestouncoversomething,like languagehas,butitcanalsouncoversomethingata'deeperlevel,whichlanguagecan not. GadamermovesawayfromKantianaestheticswheretheexperienceofartisseenasa passiveandjoyfuldisinterestednessintheartwork.Anartworkwhichisseenas representationalasarepresentationofsomethingelse.ToGadamer,theworkofartis notadeadobjectoutsideourself,waitingtobeunfoldedandenjoyed.Rather,Theartwork isanobjectofhermeneuticalinvestigationnotbecauseofanyprovenanceinpsychological eventsbutbecauseofthefactthatitsayssomethingtous(Davey.p.98.(quoting GadamersPhilosophicalHermeneutics)).Itisnot,asisthecasewithPlatoandAristotle, tobeunderstoodbythenotionofmmesis.I.e.animitationofreality. Thenotionofmmesispresupposesarelationtotherealbeingofphenomenons,argues Gadamer(Gadamer.p.83).Inthismanner,heturnstophenomenology:Medden fnomenologiskerekurstildenstetiskeerfaringfremgrdet,atdennesletikketnker udfraetsdanforhold,mentvrtimodserdenegentligesandhedidet,denerfarer(ibid. 84).Itiswithintheexperienceofthephenomenonitself,thatthetruthistobefound. Gadamerasksrhetoricallyiftheaestheticexperienceshouldnotbeunderstoodashaving thesamecognitivepossibilitiesasperception:Inbothcasesitispossibletoexperience somethingastrue(ibid.p.89).Iftheartworkuncoverssomethingastrue,thenitopensup forthepossibilityofcognition.Iwillthereforeexplorethepossibilityofcognitioninrelation totheaestheticexperience. Theaestheticexperience TheaestheticexperienceiswithGadamerunderstoodasanevent(ereignis)which unveilssomethingtruebeyondtheartworkitself.Itisadisclosureofmeaning,whichis neverexhaustedandalwaysopentoreintepretation(seeDavey).Assuch,theaesthetic
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

eventisanexperienceofcognitivecontent(ibid.)andapossibilitytolearnsomething aboutyourself.Theartworksayssomethingmeaningfultothespectatorthathecanidentify withandwhichisalwaysopentointerpretation.Sowhatisitthatthespectatorcanlearn fromtheaestheticexperience?Gadamerwantstoshowthattheaestheticexperience involvesusbeyondwhatisimmediatelyunderstood.Weareinvolvedinthesubstanceof underlyingandongoingtransindividuallinguisticandculturalpractices(ibid.) Thereforeitcallsforareflectionandafurtherinterpretationoftheexperience.I.e.a hermeneuticalinvestigationofthecontextinwhichtheartworkisexperiencedandhowit affectsthespectator,asGadamerwrites: Tvrtimodlrerviatforstosselvikunstvrket,hvilketbetyder,atviophver oplevelsensdiskontinuitetogpunktualitetivorestilvrelseskontinuitet.Detglderderfor omatetablereenpositionoverfordetsknneogkunsten,derikkeprtenderer umiddelbarhed,mensvarertilmennesketshistoriskevirkelighed.Pberbelsenaf umiddelbarheden,detgenialejeblik,oplevelsensbetydning,kanikkeholdestandoverfor denmenneskeligeeksistenskravpkontinuitetogenhedsligselvforstelse. Kunsterfaringenbrikkereducerestildenstetiskebevidsthedsuforpligtendeindstilling (Gadamer.p.96). Intheaestheticexperienceweareparticipatinginaninterpretiveway.ButGadamer stressesthatitisanongoingparticipation.Atthesametimetheexperienceconstitutesour statusastimelybeingswithafundamentalurgetocreatemeaningandcoherenceinour lives,asseeninHeideggersanalysisofDasein.Weunderstandourselvesandthe conditionsunderwhichwearelivingbeings.Withinthisclaimliesacritiqueoftheaesthetic eventasanindependentandpunctualexperience.Theaestheticexperiencecanonlybe fullyunderstoodwithinitscontext,bothregardingthespectatorandtheartwork.Itisan ongoingandconstitutingexperience,whichcannotbeunderstoodsolelyfromanaesthetic perspectivewithoutendingincontradictions(seeibid.95).InthislineofthoughtGadamer referstoSrenKierkegaard,whodescribedthedevastatingconsequencesofanaesthetic wayofliving(seeibid.p.9495).Theaestheticexperienceisonlypossibletodescribe fromanethicalpointofview.Itgetsmeaningbecausewehaveanongoinghermeneutical andreciprocalperspectiveonourlife.Wehavetokeepthisinmindwhenanalyzingthe aestheticexperience:tvrtimoderforstelsenendelafmdetmedkunstvrket,sledes atdettetilhrsforholdkunkanafklaresudfrakunstvrketsvremde(ibid.99).Inline withHeidegger,Gadamerarguesthattheontologyoftheartworkshouldbefollowedbyan interpretation.Whenanalysingsomethingasbeing,wealsohavetoanalysethewayitis, thewayitfunctions. Toarguefortheonticdimensionsoftheaestheticexperienceandforitscognitiveand constitutiveabilities,Gadamerturnstoanargumentfromanalogytheplay.
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

Play Gadamerusesthetermplayasananalogytoconcretizetheontologyoftheartwork.Play istranslatedfromthegermantermSpiel,whichcovers,notonlytoplayagameinjoyful pastime,butalsodance,actingandplayingmusic(ibid.intro:xiii).Whenplaying,itisthe playingitselfwhichisinfocus,notthesubjectplayingit.Playingissomethingwhichis independentofthesubjectplayingit.Gadamerdrawsananalogytohowwe,inour language,usetheterm.Weusetheexpressionofplayingsomething,playalongandthat somethingplaysout:Forsprogeterspilletsegentligesubjektbenbartspilletselvog ikkeensubjektivitet,derudoverandreaktiviteterogsspiller(ibid.103).Whenplaying, thesubjectissoimmersedthatitisitselfsecondarytotheplaying,thetaskoflifeis,soto speak,forgotten.Thesubjectisreleasedfromthatinitiativogdenopgave,derudgr tilvrelsensegentligeanstrengelse(ibid.104).Thepointisthatplayingissomething whichisdonewithoutanysignificanteffortandpurposeotherthattheplayingitself. AccordingtoGadamer,thecharacteristicoftheplayistopresentitself(stelltsiedar).To presentsomethingcanalwaysbeapresentationforsomebody,andtoGadamerthis possibilityofpresentingtheplayingforsomebody,isanimportantcharacteristicofart. aktrernesatsigegropispilletoghermedopnrenhjereformforselvfremstilling deresspiloverskriderogssigselvvedatdefremstillerenmeningshelhedfortilskueren (ibid.108).Notonlydotheplayersforgetthemselvesinplaying,theyalsodrawthe spectatorintotheplayasapartofit. Theaestheticspectatorissweptbyherexperienceofart,absorbedinitsplayand potentiallytransformedbythatwhichthespectatorshiphelpsconstitute.(Daveystanford). ThespectatorisanactivepartoftheplayItiswhenthespectatorexperiencestheplaythat itunfoldsitstruemeaning(Gadamerp.108).Theartistandthespectatorentersintoa reciprocalrelationship.Thedifferencebetweenplayerandspectatoriserased,forbothof themitisthemeaningoftheplay,whichiscentral(seeibid.p.109).Thesameholdsfor theaestheticexperienceoftheartwork.Thespectatorisintheaestheticexperience absorbedandintegratedinthemeaningoftheartwork,andheisasasubjectsecondaryto theexperience.Further,thespectatorlearnssomethingabouthimselfintheartwork accordingtoGadamer:Hvadmaniegentligforstanderfarervedetkunstvrkoghfter sigved,ertvrtimodhvorsandtdeter,dvs.ihvorhjgradmanherierkenderog genkendernoget,herundernselv(ibid.112).Inthemeetingwithanartwork,the spectatorisforgettinghimself.Whoheis.Andinthisstateofimmersionheisfacedwith bothastateofcognitionandrecognition.Theartworkexposessomethingtrueabout himself,somethinghecanrecognize,butalsosomethingnew.Anewunderstandingof himself:Tilskuerensekstatiskeselvforglemmelsesvarerderfortilhanskontinuitetmedsig selv.Netopdet,hansomtilskuerfortabersigi,krvermeningenskontinuitetafham.Det,
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

derfremstillesforhamogsomhanerkendersigselvi,erhansegenverdenssandhed,den religiseogmoralskeverden,hanleveri(ibid.p.125).Thespectatorispulledoutofhis everydayconsciousness(Davey)anddiscoversanewtruthabouthimself.Sothe ontologyoftheartworkresemblesthatoftheplay,inthewaythatthesubjectissecondary totheplay,thereisnoparticularpurposewiththeplayandtheplayersaretotallyimmersed intheplay. Discussion InthephenomenologicalhermeneuticsofHeidegger,wesawhowDaseinisthrownintothe worldanditsbeingassomethingthatwasalwaysinterpretingitsownlife.Thetheoryof narrativityiscloselylinkedtoHeideggershermeneuticapproachtounderstandingtheself. Tonarrateonesownlifepresupposessomekindofinterpretation.Itrequiresknowledgeof fundamentalculturalcodes,likelanguage,symbolsandacertainbehaviour.Whenlooking atyourselffromathirdpersonperspective,youinterpretwhatyousee.Asdescribed earlier,youseeyourselfasanobject,whichyouvalueandjudge.Thisinterpretationand narrationiswhatcreatesorconstitutestheselfaccordingtoRicoeurandAtkins.Theterm selfisitselfupfordebate.Ithasbeenunderstood,describedandanalysedinmanyways. IntheperspectiveofthenarrativistaccountfromRicoeurandAtkins,theselfissomething constructedbyourlanguage.Wecantescapeourbeingintheworld,thusitdoesn'tmake anysensetotalkabouttheselfasaneternalandunchangeablesubstanceinthecartesian way.GadamersanalysisoftheaestheticexperienceiscloselylinkedtoHeideggers notionoftruth,asunderstoodinthegreeksenseofaletheia.Further,Heideggerisusing thetermlogosasawayofuncoveringwhatistrue.AccordingtoGadamerartisableto uncoverthetruthinthesamewaythatlanguagecan.ButwithGadamer'sanalysis,wesee thatartcandosomethingwhichlanguagecannot.Itcanalsoexpressameaninganda truthwhichliesbeyondthesemanticsoflanguage.AndIthinkthisclaimisinterestingin relationtothenarrationoftheself.Inthecasewhereourlanguageisntsophisticatedor richenoughtocreateournarrativeorexplainwhoweare. Disturbingevents Myclaimisthatlotsofeventsaremessyandhardtogetaholdof.Theycanbe paradoxical,contradictoryandcomplex,andwecannotalwaysexplainandinterpretthem adequatelywithourlanguage.Thereforetheycandisturboursenseofwhoweareand disturbthenarrationofourself.Whenourlanguageisntsufficientenoughtointerpret disturbingevents,weneedatoolofinterpretationtounderstandtheseeventsastheyare, sowecanidentifywiththem,placetheminournarrativeandthusmakingthempartofthe constitutionofourself.TheideaofadisturbingeventisinlinewithAtkinsaccountof secondaryreflectionasdescribedabove. Inshort,HeideggerarguesthatDaseinisbeingintheworldandisthusalwaysinterpreting
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

itsownexistence.RicoeurandAtkinsargue,thatnarrativityisawayofinterpretingourlife andconstitutingtheself.Gadamerarguesthatartcangiveourlivesmeaningandmakeus understandourselvesbeyondwhatimmediatelycanbeexpressedinourlanguage.Ifwe followtheideaof1)Daseinasbeingintheworld,2)thenarrativitytheoryfromRicoeurand secondaryreflectionasdescribedbyAtkins,and3)theanalysisoftheartworkinthesense ofGadamer,thentheartworkasatool,mustbeadvantageousasawaytogivethe spectatoranaestheticexperience(asdescribedinthesenseofGadamer)whichseemsto facilitatetheinterpretationandnarrationoftheself,whenhavingexperiencedadisturbing event.Ifholdingthesethreepremisesfortrue,thenitseemsfairtoholdthatournarrationis facilitatedbytheaestheticexperiencesandthusleadtotheconstitutionoftheself.To concretize:Adisturbingevent,couldbeaseriousillness,whichwouldforceyouto reconsiderwhoyouareandwhatyoucanandcannotdo.Youwouldhavetounderstand whoyouareinrelationtoyourillness.Yoursenseofselfshouldbereconsidered.Butifyou donthavethelanguageavailabletoaccountforwhoyouareinrelationtothisnew situation,thentheselfconstitutionalprocessthroughnarrationisobstructed.Inlineofthe threepremissesjuststated,aninvolvementinanaestheticeventseemstobeabletohelp ustobetternarrateandconstituteourself. Toexpandthisclaimofartasaninterpretationtoolintheprocessofselfconstitution,Iwill nowturntoGadamernotionofplay. Playinrelationtoselfconstitution Gadamershowshowtheaestheticexperiencecanabsorbthespectatorinimmersion,a stateofforgettingoneself,aswhenplaying.Butwhileforgettinghimself,thespectatoris involvedinsomethingbeyondhisunderstandingheisparticipatingimmediatelyincultural codesandbehavioursbasedonatacitandpracticalknowledgeinlinewithHeideggers argumentoftheuseoftools.Thisaestheticexperiencefacilitatestheforgettingofoneself, andatthesametimeitmaintainsthenecessaryselfconstancyandcontinuation.Inthe experienceofsuchanevent,oneisforgettinghowoneseeshimself,andthereforeopens upforanewselfconception.Butatthesametimetheagentstaysthesame(Cf.Ricoeur onidentityasidemandipse).Asdescribedabove,theaestheticexperienceisonewhich canuncovertruthandthusentailsapossibilityofcognition.Therefore,itseemspossible thatwethroughtheaestheticexperiencecanlearnsomethingnewaboutourselfandthus facilitatethenarrationofwhoweare. Thisopensupforcertainquestions:Exactlyhowdoestheaestheticexperienceworks?Isit onlytheimmersion,thatmakesyouseeyourselfinanewway.Orisitalsothetypeof artworkexperiencedandhowwellitisperformed/executed.Theseareinteresting questions,whichcallforfurtherinvestigation.Aninvestigationwhichisbeyondthescopeof thispaper.
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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

Conclusion Ihaveinthispaperexploredthepossibilityoftheconstitutionoftheselfthroughart.To carryoutthisinvestigationIhavestartedoffwithashortintroductiontonarrativity.Asitisa hermeneuticapproachofunderstandingtheself,Ihaveexplainedthehermeneuticsof MartinHeideggerandhowitisconnectedwithhisphenomenology.Heideggerstermfor theselfisDasein,whichischaracterizedbyitswayofinterpretingitselfandits beingintheworld.ThishaveleadmetoPaulRicoeursnarrativeaccountoftheself.To Ricoeur,theselfisbestunderstoodasadialecticbetweentwopolesofidentityidemand ipse.Thefirstisidentityassamenessandtheotheridentityasselfhood.Thefirststaysthe same,theotherincludeschangesandmutations.Ricoeurarguesthattheconstitutionofthe selfismadewhenwenarrateandidentifyourselveswithnarratives.Ricoeurdrawsonboth theanalyticalandthecontinentaltraditionofphilosophyandaccountsfortheself,bothasa mereillusionandtheselfunderstoodasacartesiansubstance.KimAtkinsalso emphasisesthedialecticbetweentwopoles,asRicoeur.Further,shedevelopsonthe ideaofprimaryandsecondaryreflection.Thelatterisastatewhereyouaredisturbedin youreverydayconsciousnessinawaythatforceyoutoreconsiderwhoyouare.Ihave expandedonthisaccountinthesectiondisturbingevents. InGadamersaestheticsartis,aslanguage,somethingabletobringforththetruth.The artworkuncoverssomethingasitis.Thereforetheartworkissomethingofcognitive content,wherethespectatorcanrecognizehimselfinanewwayandcreateanew narrative.Gadamerusesthetermplayasananalogtotheontologyoftheartwork.When participatinginplay,theplayersaresoimmersedintheplayingthattheyforgetthemselves. Thesamecanbesaidabouttheaestheticexperiencewhenfacinganartwork.The spectatorforgetshimself,butatthesametimeheisparticipatinginsocialandcultural codes,whichliesbeyondhisimmediateunderstanding.Inthisprocessthespectatoris abletolearnsomethingabouthimself,accordingtoGadamer.Inthediscussionsection,I haveinvestigatedmymainphilosophicalproblemtheconstitutionoftheselfthroughart. AccordingtoGadamer,theaestheticexperiencebringssomethingtruetotheforelike languagedoes.Buttheaestheticexperiencecanalsouncoversomethingwhichlanguage cannot.Itcanimmerseyouinawaythatmakesyouforgetwhoyouare,butatthesame timeyouparticipateunreflectedinunderlyingculturalcodesthatsecureyourselfconstancy orselfcontinuationandatthesametime,doestheseculturalcodesopensupforanew selfunderstanding.Itthusopensupforthepossibilityofanewnarrationofyourselfanda newwayofunderstandingwhoyouare.Soinconclusion,whenyoursenseofselfis disturbed,asIexemplifiedindisturbingevents,itseemsfairtostatethattheartworkand theaestheticexperienceareadvantageousastoolstofacilitatetheinterpretationand narrationofwhoyouareandtheconstitutionoftheself.

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TheselfRealorIllusory?TheconstitutionoftheselfthroughartBjrnFredJensen

References Mackenzie,CatrionaandAtkins,Kim:PracticalidentityandNarrativeAgency. Routledge2008. Ricoeur,Paul:SoiMmecommeunautre.ditionsduSeuil1990 Gadamer,HansGeorg:SandhedogMetode.Systime2004 Moran,Dermot:IntroductiontoPhenomenology.Routledge2000 Heidegger,Martin:Beingandtime.BlackwellPublishing1962 Plato:Cratylus.FoundonlineJanuary2013: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Plat.+Crat.+402&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext %3A1999.01.0171 Zahavi,Dan:SubjectivityandSelfhood.MITPress,2008 Davey,Nicholas,"Gadamer'sAesthetics",TheStanfordEncyclopediaofPhilosophy (Winter2011Edition),EdwardN.Zalta(ed.),URL= <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/gadameraesthetics/>.

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