Self: Ancient and Modern Insights About Individuality, Life, and Death

University of Chicago Press (2006)
Over the centuries, the idea of the self has both fascinated and confounded philosophers. From the ancient Greeks, who problematized issues of identity and self-awareness, to Locke and Hume, who popularized minimalist views of the self, to the efforts of postmodernists in our time to decenter the human subject altogether, the idea that there is something called a self has always been in steady decline. But for Richard Sorabji, one of our most celebrated living intellectuals, this negation of the self is dispiriting. In Self , he sets out to recover the rich variety of positive accounts of the self from Antiquity right up to the present, while offering his own inspiring view of what precisely the self might be. Drawing on Eastern religion, classical antiquity, and Western philosophy, Sorabji proceeds to tackle a number of thematic debates that have preoccupied philosophers over the ages, including the concept of the self, its sameness and mutability, the idea of the resurrection of the body and spirit, and the fear of death. According to Sorabji, the self is not an undetectable soul or ego, but an embodied individual whose existence is plain to see. It is also neither a linguistic creation nor a psychological fiction, but something that owns both a consciousness and a body. Ultimately, Sorabji argues, the demise of a positive idea of the self stems from much older and more pervasive problems of identity than we realize. Through an astute reading of this tradition, he helps us come to terms with our uneasiness about the subject in an account that will be at the forefront of philosophical debates for years to come.
Keywords Self (Philosophy  afterlife  soul  death  resurrection
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2008
Buy the book $36.92 used (29% off)   $48.01 new (8% off)   $52.00 direct from Amazon    Amazon page
Call number BD438.5.S67 2006
ISBN(s) 0226768252   9780226768250   9780226768267     9780199550135
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2007.521_1.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,453
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
Stan Klein (2013). The Sense of Diachronic Personal Identity. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):791-811.
Lynne Baker (2011). Christian Materialism in a Scientific Age. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (1):47-59.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #255,316 of 1,925,265 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #212,107 of 1,925,265 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.