This is a clear assessment of Hume's theories of the self and personal identity, including his famous Treatise on Human Nature . Pitson provides a critical exploration of his thinking, also examining the continuing relevance of Hume's theories for contemporary philosophy and relating it to his broader reflections on human nature itself. Divided into two parts, Pitson's study follows Hume's important distinction between two aspects of personal identity: the "mental" and the "agency". The first part discusses Hume's conception of (...) the mind as a "bundle" or "system" of perceptions and explores Hume's position on the traditional mind/body problem. In the second part Pitson examines a range of topics including Hume's treatment of character, the relationship between human and animal nature, and the nature of agency. (shrink)
Plotinus, the founder of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy, conceptualises two different notions of self : the corporeal and the rational. Personality and imperfection mark the former, while goodness and a striving for understanding mark the latter. In this text, Dr Remes grounds the two selfhoods in deep-seated Platonic ontological commitments, following their manifestations, interrelations and sometimes uneasy coexistence in philosophical psychology, emotional therapy and ethics. Plotinus' interest lies in what it means for a human being to be a (...) temporal and a corporeal thing, yet capable of abstract and impartial reasoning, of self-government and perhaps even invulnerability. The book argues that this involves a philosophically problematic rupture within humanity which is, however, alleviated by the psychological similarities and points of contact between the two aspects of the self. The purpose of life is the cultivation of the latter aspect, the true self. (shrink)
A widespread interpretation of Buddhist thought concerning the self makes a prominent place for the claim that there is no self. The idea is that this piece of Buddhist philosophy is best understood as being an eliminativist view about the self, sometimes called the "no-self view" or "non-self view". This claim is motivated, in Buddhist philosophy, by the idea that if there were a self, it would have to be a permanent entity that would (...) be a "bearer" of individual psychological states. But since, according to this line of thought, there is no such permanent bearer, then there is no self.Consider the following statements: There... (shrink)
The practical aspect of ancient philosophy has been recently made a focus of renewed metaphilosophical investigation. After a brief presentation of three accounts of this kind developed by Martha Nussbaum, Pierre Hadot, and Michel Foucault, the model of the therapeutic argument developed by Nussbaum is called into question from the perspectives offered by her French colleagues, who emphasize spiritual exercise (Hadot) or the care of the self (Foucault). The ways in which the account of Nussbaum can be defended are (...) then discussed, including both a ‘negative’ defense, i.e. the indication of the weaknesses of Hadot and Foucault’s proposals, and a ‘positive’ one focused on the points in which Nussbaum can convincingly address doubts about her metaphilosophical account. In response to these analyses, some further remarks made by Hadot and Foucault are discussed in order to demonstrate that their accounts are not as distant from Nussbaum after all. Finally, a recent metaphilosophical study by John Sellars together with a therapeutic (medical) model developed by the author of the present article are suggested as providing a framework for potential reconciliation between all three accounts discussed and a resource for further metaphilosophical studies. (shrink)
The article examines some of the main theses about self-awareness developed in recent analytic philosophy of mind (especially the work of Bermúdez), and points to a number of striking overlaps between these accounts and the ones to be found in phenomenology. Given the real risk of unintended repetitions, it is argued that it would be counterproductive for philosophy of mind to ignore already existing resources, and that both analytical philosophy and phenomenology would profit from a more open exchange.
The paper begins by acknowledging that weakened systematic precision in phenomenology has made its application in philosophy of science obscure and ineffective. The defining aspirations of early transcendental phenomenology are, however, believed to be important ones. A path is therefore explored that attempts to show how certain recent developments in the logic of self-reference fulfill in a clear and more rigorous fashion in the context of philosophy of science certain of the early hopes of phenomenologists. The resulting dual approach (...) is applied to several problems in the philosophy of science: on the one hand, to proposed rejections of scientific objectivity, to the doctrine of radical meaning variance, and to the Quine-Duhem thesis, and or. the other, to an analysis of hidden variable theory in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In contemporary Western analytic philosophy, the classic analogical argument explaining our knowledge of other minds has been rejected. But at least three alternative positive theories of our knowledge of the second person have been formulated: the theory-theory, the simulation theory and the theory of direct empathy. After sketching out the problems faced by these accounts of the ego’s access to the contents of the mind of a “second ego”, this paper tries to recreate one argument given by Abhinavagupta (Shaiva philosopher (...) of recognition) to the effect that even in another’s body, one must feel and recognize one’s own self, if one is able to address that embodied person as a “you”. The otherness of You does not take away from its subjectivity. In that sense, just as every second person to whom one could speak is, first, a person, she is also a first person. Even as I regret that I do not know exactly how some other person is feeling right now, I must have some general access to the subjective experience of that other person, for otherwise what is it that I feel so painfully ignorant about? My subjective world is mine only to the extent that I recognize its continuity with a sharable subjective world where other I-s can make a You out of me. (shrink)
The study focuses on the debates on self-love in early 18th - century British moral philosophy. It examines the intricate relations of these debates with questions concerning human nature and morality in five central authors : Anthony Ashley Cooper the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, Bernard Mandeville, Francis Hutcheson, Joseph Butler and Archibald Campbell. One of the central claims of this study is that a distinction between five different concepts of self-love is necessary to achieve a clear understanding of (...) the debates on self-love. Thus, egoistic self-love, self-love as love of praise, self-love as self-esteem, self-love as excessive pride and self-love as self-respect are distinguished. The role of these different concepts is analysed in the mentioned authors ’ theories of human nature and morality, and the relations between the concepts of self-love and other essential concepts of moral philosophy such as benevolence, pity and virtue are examined. This study highlights the importance of the widely discussed claim that self-love is the only motive for human agents and shows that the moral rehabilitation of self-love becomes an important issue for the period. Commentators generally agree on the importance of the notion of self-love for the period’s moral philosophy, yet little attention has been paid to the different concepts of self-love. Present-day philosophy’s tendency to equate self-love with egoism is too simplistic, and the insufficient recognition of the vagueness of the notion of self-love is shown to be an impediment to an appropriate reconstruction of important arguments in the debates on self-love. The framework suggested in this study thus enables a better comprehension of the different accounts of self-love in the selected authors ’ moral psychologies, and of their views of the moral value of self-love. This facilitates the shedding of light on central aspects of moral philosophy at the beginning of the 18th century. (shrink)
The flowering of creative and speculative philosophy that emerged in modern Europe--particularly in Germany--is a thrilling adventure story as well as an essential chapter in the history of philosophy. In this integrative narrative, Solomon provides an accessible introduction to the major authors and movements of modern European philosophy, including the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Rousseau, German Idealism, Kant, Fichte, Schelling and the Romantics, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Max Brentano, Meinong, Frege, Dilthey, Bergson, Nietzsche, Husserl, Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, hermeneutics, Sartre, Postmodernism, Structuralism, (...) Foucault, and Derrida. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the lack of interest, among analytic moral philosophers, in the contingencies of our moral present, produces an impoverished moral philosophy, unable to address the moral problems and quandaries of ordinary people. What is needed to remedy this is a broadening of the scope of the moral philosopher’s thought to include a rich attention to moral phenomena of the present. One such phenomenon, attended to by sociologists and critical journalists over the past few decades, is (...) the contemporary proliferating genre of psychologically oriented self-help literature. I display a range of sociological responses to self-help in order to point out aspects of morality that are made visible in these discussions, whereas they often remain invisible in standard moral philosophy. The aim is not to suggest a specific methodology for including such material into philosophical discussions, but rather to urge philosophers to reconsider the range of materials they attend to in their work, in order to produce a more lively engagement with and understanding of contemporary morality. (shrink)
The nature of self awareness and the origin and persistence of personal identity still loom large in contemporary philosophy of mind. Many philosophers have been wooed by the computational approach to consciousness, and they attempt to find the self amidst the phenomenon of neocortical information processing. Affective neuroscience offers another pathway to understanding the evolution and nature of self. This paper explores how affective neuroscience acts as a positive game-changer in the philosophical pursuit of self. In (...) particular, we focus on connecting 'mammalian agency' to (a) subjective awareness, and (b) identity through time. (shrink)
Provides a systematic overview of the topic of self in classical German philosophy, focusing on the period around 1800 and covering Kant, Fichte, Holderlin, Novalis, Schelling, Schleiermacher, and Hegel.
Reflection names the central activity of Western philosophical practice; the mirror and its attendant metaphors of reflection are omnipresent in the self-image of Western philosophy and in metaphilosophical reflection on reflection. But the physical experiences of being reflected by glass mirrors have been inadequately theorized contributors to those metaphors, and this has implications not only for the self-image and the self of philosophy but also for metaphilosophical practice. This article begins to rethink the metaphor of reflection anew. (...) Paying attention to the history of the glass mirror in Europe reveals and challenges the modern emergence of clear ontological distinctions between disembodied subjects and the objects of their knowledge, and suggests a compelling terrain of metaphilosophical analysis. On the reading offered by the article, the inherent complexity of the relationship between selves and their mirror images, a complexity mediated by social location, historical situation, and particular projects, points to significant spaces of unknowing, of indeterminacy, and of ontological ambiguity. (shrink)
This book contends that both Anglo-American analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy have lost their vitality, and it offers an alternative in their place. Donald Phillip Verene advocates a renewal of contemporary philosophy through a return to its origins in Socratic humanism and to the notions of civil wisdom, eloquence, and prudence as guides to human action. Verene critiques reflection—the dominant form of philosophical thought that developed from Descartes and Locke—and shows that reflection is not only a philosophical doctrine but is (...) also connected to the life-form of technological society. He analyzes the nature of technological society and argues that, based on the expansion of human desire, such a society has eliminated the values embodied in the tradition of human folly as understood by Brant, Erasmus, and others. Focusing in particular on the traditions of some of the late Greeks and the Romans, Renaissance humanism, and the thought of Giambattista Vico, this book's concern is to revive the ancient Delphic injunction, "Know thyself," an idea of civil wisdom Verene finds has been missing since Descartes. The author recovers the meaning of the vital relations that poetry, myth, and rhetoric had with philosophy in thinkers like Cicero, Quintilian, Isocrates, Pico, Vives, and Vico. He arrives at a conception of philosophy as a form of memory that requires both rhetoric and poetry to accomplish self-knowledge. (shrink)
The philosophical study of irrationality can yield interesting insights into the human mind. One provocative issue is self-defeating behaviours, i.e. behaviours that result in failure to achieve ones apparent goals and ambitions. In this paper I consider a self-defeating behaviour called choking under pressure, explain why it should be considered irrational, and how it is best understood with reference to skills. Then I describe how choking can be explained without appeal to a purely Freudian subconscious or sub-agents view (...) of mind. Finally, I will recommend an alternative way to understand self-defeating behaviour which comes from a synthesis of Peter Strawson's explanation of self-reactive attitudes, Mark Johnston's notion of mental tropisms, and revised Freudian descriptions of the causes of self-defeating behaviour. (shrink)
This is a major study of conceptions of selfhood and personality in Homer and Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. The focus is on the norms of personality in Greek psychology and ethics. Gill argues that the key to understanding Greek thought of this type is to counteract the subjective and individualistic aspects of our own thinking about the person. He defines an "objective-participant" conception of personality, symbolized by the idea of the person as an interlocutor in a series of psychological and (...) ethical dialogues. (shrink)
I consider the issue of the self and its relation to the environment, focusing on the accounts given in ecofeminism and deep ecology. Though both stress the relatedness of the human self to nature, these accounts differ in various ways. Ecofeminism stresses the value of personal relations with particular others, whereas deep ecology argues that we should expand our sense of self to include all natural others and the whole of nature. Deep ecology’s views on the (...) class='Hi'>self, which are loosely based on scientific ecology, are examined further and I argue that the implications are that selves are not to be seen as static things but rather as processes, and as constituted by their relations with others. This understanding of the self, I argue, enriches both deep ecology and ecofeminism’s claims on selfhood, and will enable the resolution of some of the difficulties they perceive in each other’s account. (shrink)
Frank Palmer, Richard Eldridge, and Martha Nussbaum explore the contributions that imaginative literature can make to ethics. From three different moral philosophical perspectives, they argue that reading literature can help persons to achieve greater moral understanding. This essay examines how each author conceives of moral understanding, particularly in its emotional dimension, and how each thinks that reading literature can promote moral understanding. The essay also considers some implications of this work for religious ethics.
This essay is a case study of the self-destruction that occurs in the work of a social-constructionist historian of science who embraces a radical philosophy of science. It focuses on Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud in arguing that a history of science committed to the social construction of science and to the central theses of Kuhnian, Duhemian, and Quinean philosophy of science is incoherent through self-reference. Laqueur's text is examined in detail (...) in order to make the main point; a similar phenomenon in the work of the feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller is then briefly discussed. (shrink)
Does the Buddhist doctrine of no-self imply, simply put, no-other? Does this doctrine necessarily come into conflict with an ethics premised on the alterity of the other? This article explores these questions by situating Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics in the context of contemporary Japanese philosophy. The work of twentieth-century Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō provides a starting point from which to consider the ethics of the self-other relation in light of the Buddhist notion of emptiness. The philosophy of thirteenth-century Zen (...) Master Dōgen casts doubt on Watsuji’s commitment to reciprocal self-other relationality, showing that the idea of self-emptiness disrupts any conventional understanding of reciprocity and promotes instead other-oriented compassion. Despite interesting similarities between the ethics of alterity and Buddhist compassion, a Buddhist-influenced understanding of alterity differs from Levinas on important points, by making possible the claim that all others—human, animal, plant, and mineral—are ethical others. (shrink)
In contemporary discussions on practical ethics, the concepts of autonomy and dignity have frequently been opposed. This tendency has been particularly visible in controversies regarding cloning, abortion, organ sales, and euthanasia. Freedom of research and freedom of choice, as instances of professional and personal autonomy, have been cited in arguments favouring these practices, while the dignity and sanctity of human life have been evoked in arguments against them. In the moral theory of Immanuel Kant, however, the concepts of autonomy and (...) dignity seem to coexist in mutual harmony. Respect for the freely chosen moral law and respect for the absolute value of humanity coincide, and give rise to a unified understanding of our duties toward ourselves and others. My question in this paper is, was Kant on to something here? Can autonomy and dignity, in the sense in which they are used in current debates, be brought together, and can the arguments be settled in a way that would satisfy both (or all) disagreeing parties? My answer to the question is, yes and no. Kant was definitely on to something in that he recognized two competing views in modern moral philosophy, and tried to consolidate them in an attempt to create a universal model of ethics. But in the end, he failed to fuse the two views together on equal terms. Instead, he sacrificed the modern idea of the self-governance of individuals on the altar of the premodern notion of the absolute inner worth of humanity. (shrink)
Philosophy as Fiction seeks to account for the peculiar power of philosophical literature by taking as its case study the paradigmatic generic hybrid of the twentieth century, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. At once philosophical--in that it presents claims, and even deploys arguments concerning such traditionally philosophical issues as knowledge, self-deception, selfhood, love, friendship, and art--and literary, in that its situations are imaginary and its stylization inescapably prominent, Proust's novel presents us with a conundrum. How should it (...) be read? Can the two discursive structures co-exist, or must philosophy inevitably undermine literature (by sapping the narrative of its vitality) and literature undermine philosophy (by placing its claims in the mouth of an often unreliable narrator)? In the case of Proust at least, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only can a coherent, distinctive philosophical system be extracted from the Recherche, once the narrator's periodic waywardness is taken into account; not only does a powerfully original style pervade its every nook, overtly reinforcing some theories and covertly exemplifying others; but aspects of the philosophy also serve literary ends, contributing more to character than to conceptual framework. What is more, aspects of the aesthetics serve philosophical ends, enabling a reader to engage in an active manner with an alternative art of living. Unlike the "essay" Proust might have written, his novel grants us the opportunity to use it as a practice ground for cooperation among our faculties, for the careful sifting of memories, for the complex procedures involved in self-fashioning, and for the related art of self-deception. It is only because the narrator's insights do not always add up--a weakness, so long as one treats the novel as a straightforward treatise--that it can produce its training effect, a feature that turns out to be its ultimate strength. (shrink)
This article covers issues illustrating determining significance of philosophy as a theoretical reflection over the utmost bases of culture as well as processes, conditioned by phenomena of alienation and self-alienation of culture, resulting in its integrity, uniqueness and originality demolition. This, in its turn, definitely leads to various kinds of deformation of philosophic reflection. The most important tendency in subduing the crisis of culture and philosophy is to project a new type of philosophizing, represented in the critical philosophy of (...) “Frankfurt’s School”, and other trends, which emphasize ideas of correlation between philosophy, science, art and morality, and transforming its former states into the new stream of philosophizing and questioning. Variety of philosophic trends, originality of its approaches, variety of its ”images” is determined, to a considerable extent, not only by contradiction of philosophic process, but also by the status of culture, its deformations, its former values devastation as well as forming new ones, decaying of its integrity, embodied in the form of alienation and self-alienation of culture.Self-alienation of culture only reveals alienated character of society itself, both its creators and its consumers, dividing and studying cultural values. Transformations of philosophic ideas appear not only in the form of reconsidering for historic and philosophical process achievements, but also in the form of new forms of society and culture reconsidering, appealing to the future in the outline of its humanitarian development. (shrink)
The work explores the historical and intellectual context of Tsongkhapa's philosophy and addresses the critical issues related to questions of development and originality in Tsongkhapa's thought. It also deals extensively with one of Tsongkhapa's primary concerns, namely his attempts to demonstrate that the Middle Way philosophy's de-constructive analysis does not negate the reality of the everyday world. The study's central focus, however, is the question of the existence and the nature of self. This is explored both in terms of (...) Tsongkhapa's de-construction of the self and his re-construction of person. Finally, the work explores the concept of reality that emerges in Tsongkhapa's philosophy, and deals with his understanding of the relationship between critical reasoning, no-self, and religious experience. (shrink)