Being a beast machine: the somatic basis of selfhood

Seth, Anil K and Tsakiris, Manos (2018) Being a beast machine: the somatic basis of selfhood. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22 (11). pp. 969-981. ISSN 1364-6613

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Abstract

Modern psychology has long focused on the body as the basis of the self. Recently, predictive processing accounts of interoception (perception of the body ‘from within’) have become influential in accounting for experiences of body ownership and emotion. Here, we describe embodied selfhood in terms of ‘instrumental interoceptive inference’, which emphasises allostatic regulation and physiological integrity. We apply this approach to the distinctive phenomenology of embodied selfhood, accounting for its non-object-like character and subjective stability over time. Our perspective has implications for the development of selfhood, and illuminates longstanding debates about relations between life and mind, implying – contrary to Descartes – that experiences of embodied selfhood arise because of, and not in spite of, our nature as ‘beast machines’.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Marianne Cole
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2018 08:27
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78366

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