Original Paper

GSTF Journal of General Philosophy (JPhilo)

, 1:1

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Ontology and Developmental Root Of the First-Person Perspective

  • Murat AriciAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Konya N. E. University Email author 
  • , Pınar ToyAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Konya N. E. University


Many philosophers take for granted the distinction between the first-person and third-person perspectives. They employ this distinction in a variety of philosophical debates including those concerning self-consciousness, phenomenal properties, subjectivity of phenomenal consciousness, and conceivability issues. This paper aims to explore the developmental root of the distinction in question. Through several analyses, the paper attempts to show that infants in the early childhood are exposed to cognitive, behavioral and experiential processes that are constitutive of the first-person perspective. The striking conclusion that can be derived from the analyses is that the first-person perspective is not possessed inborn. Rather, it gradually develops through certain experiential processes and interaction with other human infants in the early childhood. This potentially implies that if conditions had been properly designed, infants would have possessed an “inter-subjective self” that lacks the first-person perspective as we traditionally know. The paper additionally hints that serious philosophical consequences occur if the above conclusion is true.

Key Words:

first-person perspective third-person perspective psychological self phenomenal subject/agent inter-subjective self self-consciousness