Project Description

Home / Members / Graduate Students / Yen-Tung Lee

Yen-Tung Lee

RESEARCH AREAS:

  • Philosophy of Mind and Cognition

  • Self-Consciousness

  • Bodily Awareness

CONTACT:

ADDITIONAL PROFILE:

PhilPeople profile

YEN-TUNG LEE

Doctoral Student,
Department of Philosophy, Western University

I am currently a PhD student in Philosophy at Western University. I received both my B.Sc. in Psychology and M.A. in Philosophy at National Taiwan University. My research interests concentrate on Philosophy of Mind and its interface with Cognitive Science. As a philosopher, I focus on phenomenal consciousness, which is highly related to issues about mind-body problem, phenomenology and intentionality. Also, among different kinds of phenomenal experiences, those associated with bodily and self-awareness are my primary research topics. As an experimental psychologist, I conduct experiments in order to investigate bodily experience. The first-hand empirical results can help reveal the nature of embodied self. This, I think, will shed some light on how we conceive of the philosophical issues above. 

My research to date primarily concentrates on bodily awareness and self-consciousness, and their relationships to “I-thoughts. I am currently working on two projects: 1) the phenomenology of body ownership and 2) the immunity to error through misidentification relative to first-person pronoun (IEM).  

My first project explores the sense of body ownership, which refers to the phenomenology in which one experiences a body as one’s own. Regarding its nature, it is unclear whether or not there is a positive feeling, a.k.a. quale, of body ownership that grounds such phenomenology. I refute the deflationism, the view that the sense of body ownership is reduced to fundamental bodily awareness or cognitive judgments, and argue for the inflationist view, which rather considers such a phenomenology as derived from an irreducible quale. To me, the quale plays an essential role combining body and self.  

My second project concerns the nature of self-reference and self-consciousness. When we use “I” to express certain thoughts, we are immune to error through misidentification, i.e., we cannot be wrong about who is the subject of those thoughts. This usage of “I” is called “I”as-subject, which many philosophers consider as a linguistically brute fact. However, as I argue, it should be grounded on the embedded structure of phenomenal experience. Specifically, “I”as-subject depends on the fact that one necessarily experiences oneself as the subject of one’s mental states. The nature of phenomenal experience constraints the way we use “I” as-subject. Hence, IEM can be explained away by a more fundamental thing.  

TA: 

2019-20, Full year, Reasoning and Critical Thinking. Instructor: Professor Chris Viger.