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Impact Factor

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 01 August 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00443

A pattern theory of self

  • 1Department of Philosophy, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA
  • 2School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

I argue for a pattern theory of self as a useful way to organize an interdisciplinary approach to discussions of what constitutes a self. According to the pattern theory, a self is constituted by a number of characteristic features or aspects that may include minimal embodied, minimal experiential, affective, intersubjective, psychological/cognitive, narrative, extended, and situated aspects. A pattern theory of self helps to clarify various interpretations of self as compatible or commensurable instead of thinking them in opposition, and it helps to show how various aspects of self may be related across certain dimensions. I also suggest that a pattern theory of self can help to adjudicate (or at least map the differences) between the idea that the self correlates to self-referential processing in the cortical midline structures of the brain and other narrower or wider conceptions of self.

Keywords: self, pattern theory, cortical midline structures, first-person perspective

Citation: Gallagher S (2013) A pattern theory of self. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:443. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00443

Received: 11 May 2013; Paper pending published: 14 June 2013;
Accepted: 18 July 2013; Published online: 01 August 2013.

Edited by:

Niall W. Duncan, University of Ottawa, Canada

Reviewed by:

Niall W. Duncan, University of Ottawa, Canada
Michela Summa, Klinik für allgemeine Psychiatrie, Germany

Copyright: © 2013 Gallagher. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Shaun Gallagher, Department of Philosophy, University of Memphis, Clement Hall 331, Memphis, TN 38156, USA e-mail: s.gallagher@memphis.edu