The self does exist, and is amenable to scientific investigation

#1
https://aeon.co/essays/the-self-does-exi...estigation

EXCERPT: ‘Know thyself’ is one of philosophy’s most ancient aphorisms. But is there such a thing as the self and, if there is, can it be empirically investigated through scientific methods? Antirealists deny the existence of the self – for them it is an illusion, a fiction of the mind. If there was no one to perceive it, there would not be a self. The concept of the self, in their telling, is invented by cultural, social and linguistic conventions. It is nothing but a useful conceptual tool for organising human experience.

David Hume, the 18th-century Scottish philosopher and economist, remains the preeminent antirealist. [...] Today, Daniel Dennett, a philosopher of mind and cognitive scientist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, also defends the antirealist view. [...]

The antirealists also argue that the phenomenal experience of the self requires ‘privileged access’, whereby the subject is a witness to her own mental states, and these mental states are not intersubjectively validated. [...] variations in culture and language will lead to different experiences of the self, making the self a non-stable, moving target, escaping scientific enquiry. [...] Or take individuals with schizophrenia, some of whom report a deep sense of disintegration between themselves and their actions. [...]

If science aims to come up with generalisable explanations and predictions of human behaviour, how can it empirically track a self that appears to be intrinsically flexible, private, subjective and accessible only to the subject whose self is in question?

The answer is that science does all this by rejecting antirealism. In fact, the self does exist. The phenomenal experience of having a self, the feelings of pain and of pleasure, of control, intentionality and agency, of self-governance, of acting according to one’s beliefs and desires, the sense of engaging with the physical world and the social world – all this offers evidence of the existence of the self. Furthermore, empirical research in the mind sciences provides robust reasons to deny antirealism. The self lends itself to scientific explanations and generalisations, and such scientific information can be used to understand disorders of the self, such as depression and schizophrenia, and to develop this self-understanding facilitates one’s ability to live a rich moral life.

I call my proposed model the ‘multitudinous self’. [...] The multitudinous self is empirically tractable and responsive to the experiences of ‘real people’ who do or do not have mental disorders. According to this model, the self is a dynamic, complex, relational and multi-aspectual mechanism of capacities, processes, states and traits that support a degree of agency. [...] The multitudinous self is based on the psychologist Ulric Neisser’s account of the self, laid out in his paper ‘Five Kinds of Self-knowledge’ (1988). Neisser encourages us to reevaluate the sources of information that help us to identify the self. There are five sources, which are so different from one another that it is plausible to conceive each as establishing a different ‘self’....

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#2
Occam's lesser known "butter knife" rule: Selves should not be multiplied beyond their explanatory necessity.
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