Let us take stock. So far we have taken three steps in our investigation: First, the self-model was introduced as a theoretical entity. Second, we made a brief representationalist analysis of the target properties possible. Third, we then introduced an empirically highly plausible assumption regarding the nature of many phenomenal representations, the transparency assumption. We now have two more steps, both of which are decisive. The first consists in applying the transparency assumption to the self-model and thereby solving the homunculus problem.
We are systems that are not able to recognize their subsymbolic self-model as a model. For this reason we are permanently operating under the conditions of a "naive-realistic self-misunderstanding'': We experience ourselves as constantly being in direct and immediate epis-temic contact with ourselves. What we have in the past simply called a "self" is not a non-physical individual, but only the content of an ongoing, dynamical process—the process of transparent self-modeling. Any system that, because of its functional architecture, is not able to recognize its self-generated subconceptual representation of itself as a representation, will inevitably fall into a naive-realistic relationship toward the content of this representation.23 On the representationalist level of analysis, this clearly seems to be a conceptual necessity. And as an empirical assumption about the way our brain actually works, it is highly plausible. A prereflexive phenomenal self, therefore, emerges if a system operates under a model of reality centered by a transparent self-model.
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