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The Bodily SelfSelected Essays$
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José Luis Bermúdez

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037501

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037501.001.0001

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Ownership and the Space of the Body

Ownership and the Space of the Body

(p.203) 8 Ownership and the Space of the Body
The Bodily Self

José Luis Bermúdez

The MIT Press

In the last 20 years, a robust experimental paradigm has emerged for studying the structure of bodily experience, focusing primarily on what it is to experience one’s body as one’s own. The initial impetus came from the rubber hand illusion (RHI) first demonstrated by Botvinick and Cohen, subsequently extended by various researchers to generate illusions of ownership at the level of the body as a whole. This paper identifies some problems with how ownership is discussed in the context of bodily illusions, and then shows how those problems can be addressed through a model of the experienced space of the body. Section 1 briefly reviews the bodily illusions literature and its significance for cognitive science and philosophy. Section 2 expresses reservations with the concept of ownership in terms of which the RHI and other illusions are standardly framed. I offer three hypotheses for the source of our putative “sense of ownership”. The main body of the paper focuses on the third hypothesis, which is that judgments of ownership are grounded in the distinctive way that we experience the space of the body.

Keywords:   Rubber hand illusion, Full-body illusions, Ownership, Bodily awareness, A-location/B-location, Frames of reference

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