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The Self from Various

Perspectives
PHILOSOPHY
What is the Nature of the Self?
GREEK PHILOSOPHY
 man has a soul who pre-existed in his body
• animates the body
• reasons (intellectual function)
• regulates and controls the body
and its desires and affections
(moral function)
• immortal
SOCRATES
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
 SELF = SOUL
 Physical and ideal realms
 The soul strives for wisdom
and perfection through
REASON
 Man must live an examined life
and a life of purpose and value.
SOCRATES
“KNOW THYSELF”
“THE UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING”

• Man is to know himself. A man should not act


without a full understanding of what he is about.

INTROSPECTION
a method of carefully examining
our thoughts and emotions
– to gain self-knowledge.
SOCRATES
 The soul strives for wisdom and
perfection through REASON

ON THE HIGHEST END OF MAN

When your soul is in good condition, you


have something of unconditional value.
The good condition of the soul is
WISDOM.
PLATO
The Self is an Immortal Soul

 Man is his SOUL.


o Essence of his humanity
o Source of all his activities

 SOUL is the charioteer of mind and


body.
JUSTICE
PLATO is the state of soul when each of the
parts perform their functions
 Every man is composed of body and soul.
RATIONAL/LOGICAL
Divine essence that enables man to think deeply, make
wise choices and achieve true understanding of eternal
truths

SPIRITED/EMOTIONAL
Basic emotions
JUSTICE
Man lives according to
APPETITIVE his nature.
Basic biological needs
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
1. The World of Forms (non-physical ideas)
2. The World of Sense (reality, temporary and only a replica of the ideal
world)

THE THEORY OF FORMS

The world is made up of reflections of more perfect


and ideal forms.

Give more importance to the world of FORMS.


ARISTOTLE
The Soul is the Essence of the Self

Reality consists of matter and form.


 MAN is NOT a pure mind or spirit.
- composed of matter & form; body & soul; mind &
matter; sense & intellect; passion & reason

Man is the whole of his body and soul.

The soul is the form of the body.


WHAT IS THE SOUL?
• “the first principle of living things,
the principle according to which a
thing comes to have a life”

Three Kinds
1. Vegetative
2. Sentient
3. Rational

Man has REASON as distinguishing


feature or characteristic.
ON THE GOOD LIFE
 Quest for happiness
The rational nature of the self is to lead a good, flourishing
and fulfilling life.
To be happy, must be
virtuous
What does it mean to be VIRTUOUS?
Doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right
way, in the right amount, toward the right people

VIRTUE is the GOLDEN MEAN.

DEFICIENCY EXCESS

COWARDICE COURAGE RECKLESSNESS


STINGINESS GENEROSITY PRODIGALITY
SHYNESS MODESTY SHAMELESSNESS
ST. AUGUSTINE
The Self has an Immortal Soul
• He saw the human being as a perfect unity of two substances: soul and body.
• The soul is superior to the body.
• Man is created in the image and likeness of God.

The self is known only through knowing God.


“Thou were within me and I outside; and I WANDERING
sought thee outside and in my unloveliness fell OBLIVION
upon those lovely things thou hast made.” Hell of the self wholly
outside itself and
therefore wholly
separate from God
• Since there is God who is transcendent,
the self seeks to be united with God
through faith and reason.

The coming to self is always


simultaneously a coming to God.
RENE DESCARTES
I Think, Therefore I Am

• The self is a thinking thing, distinct from the


body.
• He concluded that, if he doubted, then
something or someone must be doing the
doubting, therefore the very fact that he
doubted proved his existence.
The essence of existing as a human identity is
the possibility of being aware of ourselves.
JOHN LOCKE
The Self is Consciousness

• He postulated, that at birth the


mind was a blank slate or
tabula rasa.
SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

MEMORY

• Our identity is not made up of material substance, it is tied to our


consciousness.
• Consciousness is what makes possible our belief that we are the same
identity in different times and places
DAVID HUME • There is no “self”, only a bundle of
There is No Self constantly changing perceptions passing
through the theater of our minds.

Bundle Theory
• The self is nothing but a bundle of
experiences linked by the relations of
causation and resemblance

IMPRESSIONS IDEAS
Basic sensations of Thoughts and images
people’s experience from impressions
IMMANUEL KANT
We Construct the Self

• The self is a unifying subject, an


organizing consciousness that
makes intelligible experience
possible.
• The mind shapes and structures
experience.

The self constructs its own reality.


The self transcends experience.
GILBERT RYLE
The Self is the Way People Behave

• The self is the tendency or disposition to behave in


a certain way in certain circumstances
PAUL CHURCHLAND
The Self is the Brain

Eliminative Materialism:
Physical brain, and not the imaginary mind,
gives us our sense of self.

Replacement of our concepts and vocabularies


The mind is what the brain does.
“You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your
sense of personal identity and free will are in fact no more than the behavior of
a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” (Francis Crick)

“You’re nothing but a


pack of neurons.”
Conscious thought is purely a product of the brain’s machinery,
thus subject to natural laws.
MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY
The Self is Embodied Subjectivity
• All knowledge about the self is based on
the phenomena of experience.
CONSCIOUSNESS
A dynamic form responsible for
actively structuring our conscious
ideas and physical behavior

SUBJECTIVITY
a. self-referentiality of human
activities
b. Not an object but an agent