University of Chicago Press (2006)

Abstract
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well. In The Mirror of the Self , Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self. Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus , for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea , The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception. Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike.
Keywords Reflection (Philosophy History  Self-knowledge, Theory of History  Sex History  Philosophy, Ancient
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019
Buy the book $19.33 used (30% off)   $24.53 new (11% off)   $27.50 direct from Amazon    Amazon page
Call number B105.R27.B37 2006
ISBN(s) 9780226038353   9780226377308   022621172X   0226038351
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 52,768
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Kierkegaard and the Search for Self‐Knowledge.Daniel Watts - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (4):525-549.
Cuncta Quatiam: Medea Shakes the Elements.Renata Cazarini de Freitas - 2017 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 21:255-281.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
47 ( #201,975 of 2,340,352 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #514,582 of 2,340,352 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes