Skip to main content

Self-Conciousness and Self-Division in Moral Psychology

Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 3:40 pm – 5:20 pm

This colloquium talk is planned as an in-person event. Please check the COVID safety rules here to enter the building.


In moral psychology, the human capacity for self-consciousness is often seen as central to critical reflection and with that, to the difference between being moved to act and acting on reasons. In many representations of this capacity, however, self-consciousness is described as a form of self-division or self-multiplication. On Christine Korsgaard’s view, self-consciousness is the capacity to “distance oneself” from the part of oneself one is self-conscious of, and it is this space opened up that makes it possible to act on reasons affirmed by the agent as such. In this paper I raise some questions about the conception of self-consciousness as form of separation or self-division that is shared by both Korsgaard and some of her critics, and argue that we can abandon this picture, while still retaining what is important in the first-person perspective of the practical agent.