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I am: A Philosophical Inquiry into First-person Being [Hardcover]

Raymond Tallis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2004
In The Hand, the first volume of his trilogy, Raymond Tallis looked at how humans have avoided the constraints of biology. I Am focuses on two crucial aspects of the escape from being a mere organism: selfhood and agency. These are seen as originating in what Tallis calls the Existential Intuition - the sense 'That I am this' - within the human body. The nature and origin of the Existential Intuition is described in outline and it is related to the certainty of his own existence that Descartes established through his Cogito argument. The primary reference point for the sense 'That I am this' is the body. Raymond Tallis describes the logical and existential necessity of embodiment and the complex relationships we have to our bodies such as being, using, having, suffering and knowing. He goes on to argue that bodily continuity and psychological connectedness through memory both require the Existential Intuition in order to underpin an enduring self.Moreover, the self-realising intuition 'that I am this' creates a new point of departure in the physical world enabling persons to be the origins of their acts and to establish a vantage point from which they are able to influence the course of events. I Am is full of fascinating insights into the nature of personal identity and offers an entirely new way of reconciling human freedom with the deterministic universe in which humans act. Key Features: *Addresses fundamental philosophical questions. *Approaches these questions from a novel view point. *Reconciles Darwinism with Humanism. *A major attempt to redefine what it is to be a human being and the scope of human possibility.

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I am: A Philosophical Inquiry into First-person Being + The Knowing Animal: A Philosophical Inquiry into Knowledge and Truth
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (3 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074861950X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0748619504
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,097,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'It is likely that his philosophy, and especially his philosophical anthropology will leave a particularly indelible mark on human affairs.’ -- Times Literary Supplement

'One of the most intriguing figures in the current intellectual scene.' -- The Times Higher Education Supplement

‘It is likely that his philosophy, and especially his philosophical anthropology will leave a particularly indelible mark on human affairs.’ -- Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Raymond Tallis is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Existential Intuition 13 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Volume two of Raymond Tallis' three book plunge into philosophical anthropology deals with first-person being. It begins, interestingly, with Descartes cogito and uses Wittgenstein's arguments to illuminate the meditations deficiencies (i.e. the error of beginning an inquiry from a position of absolute doubt). Tallis contends that Descartes' cogito, `was a reflection at a higher and more sophisticated level, of the Existential Intuition.' (p.332) The Existential Intuition is `the sense that I am this', which arises from a sense of agency enabled by the human hand - a point Tallis examines in chapter eight.

Leaving Descartes Tallis then draws on Heidegger's Da-Sein, but argues that Heidegger bypasses the vital point of embodiment - a position Tallis' encapsulates by noting `No Da-Sein without Fort-Sein' (p.133). From here Tallis looks at the necessity of embodiment whilst conceding that using embodiment to allow for Fort-Sein (and therefore Da-Sein) is problematic given the nature of the body. Tallis proceeds to examine identity, drawing on Locke, revealing the flaws in his contribution and coming back to The Existential Intuition to offer a solution to these flaws. Finally, Tallis examines how The Existential Intuition and agency stem from each other before preparing the way for the third volume in the series.

Stylistically `I Am' is accessible without being condescending or diluted; philosophically `I Am' is startling, but humbly aware of its limitations. Tallis' ability to draw on so many strands of philosophical thought and bring them together to posit an original look at first-person being is worthy of praise. The Existential Intuition is particularly fascinating and something I would like to see explored further. Overall this is an engaging, intelligent work of philosophy.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowing Thyself 31 Mar 2010
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Fascinating speculations on the origin of the ability of humans to reflect on their own existence. Some great work on the phenomenology of having a body. One of the very few philosophers I have read with a genuine appreciation for both continental philosophers like Heidegger and Merleau Ponty and also for the best in the `analytic' philosophy. Outstanding, but those without a background in philosophy will find it a challenging read.
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