The Problem of Dualism: ‘Self’ as Cultural Exaptation


The concept of “Self” is strongly rooted in an ontological (mind/body) and epistemological (reality/fiction) dualism. This idea appears as the result of a succession of genetic predispositions emerged from a series of adaptations of cognitive structures in response to external stimuli. These structures themselves have lead us to interpret and represent the world in terms of binary opposites. This dualistic tendency, intensified by socio-cultural contexts, steer us toward an illusory perception of a conscious “Self” that separates us from the rest of the world as autonomous entities, as something different from external reality. However, this separation between the “Self” and the rest of the world is a so-called “fictional reality”. The evolution of this characteristic feature of the human mind has been developed in parallel with the cultural progress, which suggests that human consciousness, and thus our conception of "Self", is not the same as that of our remote ancestors. This paper focuses on the idea that we are born with an innate tendency to interpret and represent our environments in opposite terms, i.e., in antinomies. This is in addition to our innate genetic predispositions for language, spatial perception and pattern recognition. This leads us not only to a false illusory perception of “Self", a false perception of identity, but also to a new methodology in science from which we are able to gain a new form of knowledge, a new judgment about man and life.

Author Information
Israel Salas, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), Spain

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2017
Stream: Philosophy - Linguistics, Language and Philosophy

This paper is part of the ACERP2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon