Why do I feel this body as my own?

Oct 23, 2019
  • Capacity: 80
  • 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Location:
    Frederic Lasserre Building, Room 104
    6333 Memorial Road
    Vancouver, BC

This lecture is free, registration is not required.

Join Professor Frédérique de Vignemont as she pursues a conceptual and empirical investigation on the notion of self-awareness, in its relation both to social awareness and to bodily awareness. Her recent book, Mind the Body: An Exploration of Bodily Self-Awareness (Oxford University Press, 2018), provides the first comprehensive treatment of bodily awareness and the sense of bodily ownership, combining philosophical analysis with experimental results from cognitive science, to answer the question: What makes us feel this particular body as our own? 

In her talk, Prof. de Vignemont will take as a starting point the similarities and differences between hands and tools. She will argue that even if we can perfectly control the tool, and can even feel sensations at its tip, we still do not experience the tool as part of our own body. The crucial question is why, is it because tools generally do not look like body parts? What about prostheses? Or is it because one never feels pain on a tool? She will argue that our body feels as our own because it has a unique affective significance. In evolutionary terms, we need to protect our body for survival. This is what is at the origin of this minimal form of self-awareness.

Dr. Frédérique de Vignemont is a scientific researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche, and Deputy Director at the Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. She is the co-editor of The Subject’s Matter (MIT Press, 2017).

This event is co-hosted by the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, and co-sponsored by the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies and the Department of Philosophy. 

The French Scholars Lecture Series is a partnership between the Peter Wall Institute and the Consulate General of France in Vancouver.