Where do I end, where do you begin? Understanding the human self remains one of the greatest research challenges of our times. And one of the most vexing issues in this respect has to do with the boundaries of the self. Recent developments in embodied and enactive cognition suggest that the self, like the mind, is no longer confined to our heads, but rather embodied and grounded in the sensorimotor and social activity of the organism. Being a self requires a body and self-experience arises through action and movement. From our own everyday experience we also know that boundaries of the self are quite flexible. The self is not a rigid entity, but plastic, subject to change, both in face of temporality and of new situations and environments. We change as we grow older and we change because we are continuously affected and influenced by the world. These changes over time are commonly associated with the narrative self, and the stories we tell about our self, but the new developments in embodied cognitive science suggest that even the prereflective self, our basic embodied level of human identity, is plastic and adaptive. Humans are not islands but interconnected bodily beings, who extend and change their boundaries through social interactions and also through technology.
This interdisciplinary conference brings together experts from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and robotics to investigate the challenges and opportunities of an open perspective on the self.