We can safely say that humans are self-conscious beings. Our being self-conscious does not simply mean to have an awareness of the mere fact that we exist; more importantly, it means that we are aware or conscious of our existence as individual humans. Taken locally, what this also entails is that each of us possesses a personal “self” attached to our individual existence, and that we are conscious of our existence as such a self. However, as Hume famously argued: when he introspects, he could not catch such a thing as a self but only a bundle of perceptions. If so, how do we even begin to have an awareness of the existence of the self? Do we need a sense of selfhood to be self-conscious? In this talk, Angela Xinyi Zhao will provide a brief introduction to the philosophical problem of self-consciousness in relation to the self, and she will provide a phenomenological understanding of the nature of self-consciousness. She will explore the ways in which one is conscious of oneself as oneself, and how our self-consciousness relates to our awareness of others. She will also explore some emotional experiences such as shame and loneliness to highlight their significant manifestations of our self-consciousness understood phenomenologically.
Angela Xinyi Zhao is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at UBC. Her primary field of research is phenomenology, a philosophical study of the structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person view. (Her favorite phenomenologist is Martin Heidegger.) Her current research is on the phenomenological analysis of loneliness, which aims to disclose a deeper and more existentially meaningful understanding of our lived subjective experience of loneliness. The problems of self-consciousness, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity are important parts of her research.