Download Virtual Selves, Real Persons: A Dialogue across Disciplines by Richard S. Hallam PDF

By Richard S. Hallam

How will we be aware of and comprehend who we actually are as humans? the concept that of 'the self' is relevant to many strands of psychology and philosophy. This e-book tackles the matter of ways to outline people and selves and discusses the ways that various disciplines, similar to biology, sociology and philosophy, have handled this subject. Richard S. Hallam examines the suggestion that the belief of the self as a few kind of entity is a human development and, in influence, a digital fact. even as, this digital self is in detail relating to the truth of ourselves as organic organisms. Aiming to combine a constructionist knowing of self with the universalizing assumptions which are wanted in typical technology methods, this article is exclusive in its try to create a discussion throughout educational disciplines, whereas conserving a constant point of view at the challenge of touching on nature to tradition.

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The inherent ambiguity of the meaning of self, as both knower and known, can be illustrated by examining how it is frequently defined in books on the subject. Typically, authors define it as an umbrella term and do not bring out its existential nature. For instance, Jerrold Siegel, at the beginning of his grand survey of intellectual ideas about self since the seventeenth century, takes the common meaning of self to be ‘the particular being any person is’ (2005: 3). He goes on to say that the basis of selfhood has been sought within three dimensions: the bodily, the relational and the reflective.

The most significant of these movements chose behaviour, conscious experience, language or social structure. What they have in common is a shift away from the properties of the so-called mind. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, the dualistic legacy of mind and body lives on, in part because it is installed in our Conceptualising self 29 vocabulary and simply presents itself as common sense. And being consistent with common sense, it has been easy to recast ‘the mind’ as what the brain does. This is the position taken by many cognitive scientists and neuroscientists.

Jonathan Shear (1999) outlines a ‘pure consciousness theory of self’ which does not, according to him, have any ontological implications. He defines self in phenomenal terms as a pure quality-less awareness, an experience that he considers to have been identified universally. He claims that there is evidence that it correlates with states of the brain, from which I infer, to the contrary, that the experience does have ontological implications. Pure consciousness has been reported chiefly by people who meditate and by mystics, and so it can hardly be put forward, as Shear does, as an unnoticed background to all of a person’s experience.

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