“Causa sui”: Awareness and Choice in the Constitution of the Self

  • Calvin NormoreEmail author
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 16)


This paper argues that the conception of the self as constituted by its act of awareness of itself emerges from the confluence of three medieval ideas: Augustine’s concept of endogenous attention, Avicenna’s concept of primitive self-awareness, and Olivi’s concept of reflexivity as a necessary feature of personhood. It is Descartes who by his rejection of a distinction between a substance and its principal attribute and his weaving together of these three strands of thought who creates a conception of the self which still plays a central role in contemporary discussions.


Prime Mover Intentiones Intentiones Individual Existence Thinking Thing Platonic Tradition 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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