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The Self as Interiorized Social Relations: Applying a Jaynesian Approach to Problems of Agency and Volition

Brian J. McVeigh
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (Julian Jaynes Society, 2006).


... A self is an internalized conceptualization of agency, imported by socialization processes through the use of metaphoric mind-words "into" our heads. The self dwells in a culturally-fabricated "mind-space." A self is not conscious of itself, nor is it consciousness: only a person can be conscious, not a person's interiorized representation or "self." Rather, a self is an object of consciousness, in the same way any other object of the world is. And just as there is nothing innate or inborn about our notions of being a person, there is nothing intrinsic about our ability to introspect and to conceive of our "selves." These are all culturally learned and historically specific, and do not result from natural bio-evolutionary processes. ...