"The terrain of the self is vast," notes renowned psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig, "parts known, parts impenetrable, and parts unexplored." How do we construct a sense of ourselves? How can a self reflect upon itself or deceive itself? Is all personal identity plagiarized? Is a "true" or "authentic" self even possible? Is it possible to really "know" someone else or ourselves for that matter? To answer these and many other intriguing questions, Ludwig takes a unique approach, examining the art (...) of biography for the insights it can give us into the construction of the self. In The Biography of the Self, he takes readers on an intriguing tour of the biographer's art, revealing how much this can tell us about ourselves. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-one of our most esteemed biographers--writers such as David McCullough (the biographer of Truman and Theodore Roosevelt), Wallace Stegner (John Wesley Powell), Gloria Steinem (Marilyn Monroe), Leon Edel (Henry James), Peter Gay (Freud), Diane Middlebrook (Anne Sexton), and many others--and interweaving fascinating observations of his own practice, Ludwig takes us through the labyrinthine hall of mirrors we term the self and shows us how malleable, elusive, and paradoxical it can be. In chapters such as "The 'Real' Marilyn," "Psychoanalyzing Freud," "How Did Hitler Live With Himself?" and "What Madness Reveals," we sit in as biographers talk not only about their work, but about their subjects (Allan Bullock on Hitler and Stalin, for instance, or Arnold Rampersad on Langston Hughes) and how their subjects saw themselves. Ludwig describes how biographers must impose a narrative structure on their subjects' lives to create order out of a mass of often contradictory views, baffling behavior, and inconsistent self-representations, much in the same way that psychotherapists try to foster self-awareness and understanding in their patients. In his concluding chapter, Ludwig introduces a new concept--biographical freedom--which brilliantly reconciles free will and determinism. We can, he asserts, become biographers of ourselves. Like the biographer, we are constrained to consider all the available facts of our lives--the personal experiences, cultural forces, and predetermined scripts that shape us--but we remain free to interpret, emphasize, and fashion these givens into a cohesive and meaningful narrative of our own choosing. This thought-provoking volume offers not only a wide-ranging and informative commentary on the biographer's art, but also a highly original theory of the self. Readers interested in biography and in the lives of others will come away with a new sense of what it means to be a "person" and, in particular, who they are. (shrink)
Hypnotic responding might be due to attenuated frontal lobe functioning after the hypnotic induction. Little is known about whether personality traits linked with frontal functioning are associated with responsiveness to hypnotic suggestions. We assessed whether hypnotic suggestibility is related to the traits of self-control and impulsivity in 154 participants who completed the Brief Self-Control Scale, the Self-Regulation Scale, the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale , and the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility . BIS-11 non-planning impulsivity correlated positively with HGSHS:A . Furthermore, (...) in the best model emerging from a stepwise multiple regression, both non-planning impulsivity and self-control positively predicted hypnotic suggestibility, and there was an interaction of BIS-11 motor impulsivity with gender. For men only, motor impulsivity tended to predict hypnotic suggestibility. Hypnotic suggestibility is associated with personality traits linked with frontal functioning, and hypnotic responding in men and women might differ. (shrink)
A dialog between Donald MacKay and Mario Bunge, printed in the journal Neuroscience over the course of two years beginning in 1977, provides a conscise summary of MacKay's views on the mind-body relationship. In this dialog, MacKay contrasts the dualistic interactionism theory of Popper and Eccles with Bunge's emergentist materialism theory, and then builds a case for a third alternative based on the notion of mental events embodied in, but not identical to, brain events. Although neuroscience has made tremendous progress (...) in the past two decades, MacKay's attempt to trace a path between interactionism and materialism is still worth considering. (shrink)
Attempts have been made to prove God's non-existence. Often this takes the form of an appeal to the so-called Argument from Evil: if God were to exist, then he would not permit as much suffering in the world as there actually is. Hence the fact that there is so much suffering constitutes evidence for God's non-existence. In this essay I propose a variation which I shall call ‘The Argument from Non-belief’. Its basic idea is that if God were to exist, (...) then he would not permit as much non-belief in the world as there actually is. Hence the fact that there is so much non-belief constitutes evidence for God's non-existence. (shrink)
Nomina Sacra : Versuch einer Geschichte der christlichen Kürzung. Von Ludwig Traube, o. ö. Professor der Philologie an der Universitat, München. . Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. 1907. Pp. x + 295. M. 15.Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen. Von Ludwig Traube. Herausgegeben von Franz Boll. Erster Band. Zur Paläographie und Handschriftenkunde. Herausgegeben von Paul Lehmann. Mit biographischer Einleitung von Franz Boll. Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. 1909. Pp. lxxv+263.