The Feeling of Bodily Ownership

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In certain startling neurological and psychiatric conditions, what is ordinarily most intimate and familiar to us—our own body—can feel alien. For instance, in cases of somatoparaphrenia subjects misattribute their body parts to others, while in cases of depersonalization subjects feel estranged from their bodies. These ownership disorders thus appear to consist in a loss of any feeling of bodily ownership, the felt sense we have of our bodies as our own. Against this interpretation of ownership disorders, I defend Sufficiency, the thesis that every experience of bodily awareness suffices for a feeling of bodily ownership. Since Sufficiency conflicts with a face-value interpretation of these ownership disorders, the burden is on me to explain away the apparent tension. To do so, I identify and correct what I believe to be the fundamental mistake in the extant literature on the feeling of bodily ownership, namely the tendency to treat the notion of a feeling of bodily ownership as a single psychological construct. Instead, I distinguish the feeling of minimal ownership, the first-personal character of bodily awareness, from the feeling of affective ownership, the distinctive type of felt concern we have for our bodies. I motivate this distinction by raising the disownership puzzle, the fact that subjects suffering from ownership disorders display an ambiguous set of symptoms, arguing the distinction I draw between minimal and affective ownership is just what is required to resolve the puzzle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-379
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Issue number2
Early online date28 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Inc


  • bodily awareness
  • feeling of bodily ownership
  • ownership disorders
  • self-awareness


Dive into the research topics of 'The Feeling of Bodily Ownership'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this