عنوان مقاله [English]
Influenced by Hume, Searle denies the non-physical essence of the soul, but in two stages he has distanced himself from Hume and put forward his theory of the “Formal Self”. This paper describes Searle's theory, then shows its shortages by rational analysis.
Hume saw each perception as distinct from other perceptions. According to Searle, in this case, it is impossible to distinguish between one consciousness having ten experiences and ten different consciousnesses each with one experience. On the other hand, the existence of the body is essential for having a series of conscious experiences. The sequence of conscious states must have a physical realization. Now there is a neo-Humean account of the self, according to which the self is an embodied brain in causal contact with the world, carrying unified and expanding conscious fields.
Secondly, Searle argues for the necessity of a non-Humean self by proposing three gaps between psychological antecedents and voluntary action:
The gap between reflection and prior intention: There is a gap between the reasons for a decision and the actual decision itself. The agent in his experience does not find beliefs, desires, and other reasons as sufficient reasons for a decision;
The gap between prior intention and the intention-in-action: There is also a gap between the decision to perform an action and the actual effort to perform it. We sometimes do not do what we set out to do, for a variety of reasons or even for no reason;
The gap between intentions-in-actions in temporally extended actions: In temporally extended actions, there is another gap between starting action and continuing it. In an activity like writing a book, the initiation of the original intention-in-action is not by itself sufficient to guarantee the continuation of that intention-in-action through the completion of the activity.
Thus, primary psychological causes are not sufficient causes for voluntary action. But if the gap between the psychological causes and the action is not filled, voluntary action will not be realized. According to Searle, to fill this gap requires an irreducible non-Humean notion of the self. This Searlean notion is neither an experience nor an object of experience. Just as in visual perception, the perspective is an absolutely formal condition for the comprehension of experiences and has no other substantive or real properties, the Searlean self is also an absolutely formal but more complex concept.
The formal self is the result of Searle’s scientific worldview and materialism. Because of his ontological materialism, he denied the soul as being an immaterial, body-independent substance, and when he does not find Hume’s view as satisfactory to the interpretation of conscious action, he doesn’t turn to dualism, but rather suggests a formal self. This formal self does not clearly differ from denial of the self. In the analogy of the soul to perspective, the perspective is the condition of understanding the visual perceptions, but perspective itself is not something that can be perceived and has no real characteristics. The Serlean self is a formal notion whose postulate is the condition for the realization of voluntary action. Although according to Searle, the formal self is an identity with consciousness, perception, rationality, the ability to act, and the ability to regulate perceptions and reasons to perform voluntary actions based on the assumption of freedom, he does not mean that this identity is an objective reality; because in this case, he should accept the duality of soul and body, while he strongly avoids this. The Searlean formal self is not an external objective fact. As a result, it cannot bear the heavy burden of filling the three gaps.