I claim that, whenever we speak of self-awareness, we connote the distinction that we make as members of a languaging community of our bodily participation in a network of conversations in which the recursive distinction of the participants is possible. The 'I' arises in that distinction together with the distinction of the other. In other words, I claim that the phenomenon of self-awareness takes place, and can only take place, in language, and that only language constitutes in the animal domain the operational mechanism that makes such a distinction possible. An observer can claim that an animal not operating in language as such, as it lives, knows its body in the same way that we know our bodies as we operate outside language in all that we do without attending to the doing. We usually connote this manner of knowing when we speak of unconscious or instinctive knowledge. Indeed, we speak of unconscious knowledge whenever we refer to the adequate operation of a living system outside the domain of language: unconscious knowledge is that which we connote with aphorisms such as 'the wisdom of the body' or 'to live is to know'. When an animal walks or scratches, it just does it without reflecting about what muscles to move and in what order - the 'body knows', we might say. The actual happening of self-awareness is in realisation, as a happening in the self-aware person, occurs in the same manner as a phenomenon realised through its bodyhood, but it is different as a phenomenon of observing in that the distinctions involved in it arise only through the recursive co-ordinations of actions that constitute languaging. Indeed, what an observer sees when another observer claims self-awareness is a behavior that he or she distinguishes as a behavior in which a particular observer appears co-ordinating its actions with other observers about the changes of states of the bodyhoods of the participants. Furthermore, the first observer sees the second observer performing distinctions that could not take place outside language because they require the recursive operations of the nervous system that arise when its closed circular dynamics becomes coupled to the historical flow of co-ordinations of actions that constitute language. In this process, language is required for the observer to operate in observing its own states, because observing observing arises in a third-order recursion in language. And the recursive operation of the nervous system is required because it is only through this that some of its states may become objects of distinction through other of its states, as they become coupled to the flow of conversations about the bodyhoods of the participant observers.

The 'I' and the 'self' arise in language as distinctions in self-awareness as self-awareness arises as a social phenomenon in those conversations in which the observer sees that the participants are distinguished as such through the distinctions of their bodyhoods. Indeed, the whole domain of self-consciousness arises as a domain of recursion in self-awareness.