The 'Outer Self" and the 'Inner Body': Exteriorization of the self in cognitive sciences

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Journal of Human Values, Volume 22, Issue 1, p.39-45 (2016)



<p style="text-align: justify;">In current trends in cognitive sciences, the discussion on body crosses the classical divide between the body and the self in terms of nature and function. Embodiment theories have helped to bring in the importance of the role of subjective experiences to understand cognition, and place the process of knowing in a cultural and social context. This article is a critique of the growing trend in cognitive sciences, particularly in affective <span data-scayt_word="neurosciences" data-scaytid="1">neurosciences</span>, and approaches, to reduce the experiential self to a nonentity. It is shown that though the apparent goal is to highlight the inner qualitative nature of experience, what is happening in the background is a role reversal. The outer body becomes the inner self. The inner self becomes the outer body. The nature and functions of the self are founded on the body by theorizing embodiment as an alternate to neural reductionism. This article argues that one of the negative consequences of embodiment theories is that age-old concepts of freewill, character and moral choices become flimsy and fleeting in the process of embodying cognition.</p>