Is the self capable of auto-affection

Geniusas, Saulis 2006. Is the Self of Social Behaviorism Capable of Auto-Affection? Mead and Marion on the "I" and the "Me". Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42(2): 242-265.

The starting point of Mead's analysis lies in social experience. At the lowest levels of sociality we do not encouter what is specifically human, but rather a conversation of gestures, which lurks at the level of animal nature. At this level, an animal's action serves as a stimulus for the other to respond, which in its own turn becomes a stimulus for the adjustment of the first animal's action. This level of social activity io neither peculiarly human, nor does it have a direct reference to the self. And yet, the stimulus/response model is crucial for the development of selfhood, since by way of numerous modifications, this model reaches the level of complexity that accounts for the birth of the self. (Geniusas 2006: 244-245)
I believe this to be the nonverbal substratum in Meads work.
(I) It os oignificant that in Mead the response is identified as the first form of a subjective activity. This means that the genesis of selfhood cannot begin at the interiority of consciousness, for the origin of our actions, viz., the stimulus to which we respond, precedes it. Thus a geneaological primacy needs to begranted to the receptive character of our being: I need to be able to respond if I am to become a self. (2) In this response lios the origin of our freedom. Yat at its initial stages, the response does not manifest itself as a free response. On the contrary, precisely because the response is spontaneous, we cannot call it free. Thus Mead often exemplifies the stimulus/rosponse model with an illustration of fighting dogs. When a dog takes a bone from another, he initiates a violent response on the part of the other dog. We eill, however, discover that not all responses are of this character. (3) The response is not self-conscious. Responding to the stimulus, one is not conscious of one's own spontaneity. And yet, the appearance of self-consciousness is dependent upon my involvement with others whose primordial form is that of a conversation of gestures in terms of the stimulus/response model. Let us trace the path of the modifications of this modeland see how it gives rise to the self. (Geniusas 2006: 245)
On outline of what seem to be the basic tenets of Mead's social behaviorism.
The ability to predict the other's response is entwined with the ability to internalize the response of the other. The activities of play and the game represent two essential background factors, two general stages, in the full development of the self. While play indicates the ability to internalize the perspective of an actual other, the game possesses a more complex structure singe (I) it points to the ability to internalize the position of the generalized other, and (2) it is inseparable from rules and regulated procedures. Play and the game are those structures which define a person as a role-taking animal. In play, the child learns to take the roles of the others, to see himself as others see him. In the game, the child passes from isolated roles to the organized roles of his group or the collective role of "all" the others, thereby constituting the "generalized other." (Geniusas 2006: 246)
Repertoy building, prestigious imitation and what in the last text I named "holistic alter".
he "I" and the "me" reveal the distinguishing feature of the self: to be a self is to be an object to oneself. "How can an individual get outside himself (experientially) in such a way as to become an object to himself? This is the essential psychological problem of selfhood@ (Mead 1962, I38). "The individual is not a self in the reflexive sense unless heis an object to himself" (Mead 1962, I42). "The individual enters as such into his own experience only as an object, not as a subject" (Mead 1962, 225). (Geniusas 2006: 248)
I would say that self-experience is embodied and requires self-objectification insofar as one's own actions are mostly outside of awareness.
According to Marion, this self-reception goes hand-in-hand with auto-affection, i.e., with self-awareness whose appearance coincides with the rudimentary emergence of the self. In order to make this case, Marion refers to those against whom his own phenomenology - Descartes and Kant. (Geniusas 2006: 256)
It looks like a more refined notion of how the self arises from self-communication.
There are two reasons why this rudimentary auto-affertin needs to be acknowledged as the origin of any kind of reflective self-consciousness. First, it accounts for the mineness of experience: no ne can enyoy, suffer, or desire for me. Secondly, it belongs to auto-affectin to individualize me by allowing the succession of my affections to "constitute" the irreducibly identical character of the self. The self can be liberated from this twofold estrangement only if behind self-objectification one acknowledgos a more rudimentary self-affection. And it os those characteristics of the self, I want to suggost, that can be and should be appropriated by Mead's pragmatic notion of selfhood. (Geniusas 2006: 258)
Individality is not given, it arises and grows.


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