Philosophy Essay on Self: What role, if any do others play in the formation of self?

Essay by sameerchoudhariUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2009

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

To many, it may seem others play an important role in the formation of self. When we interact with others, make comparisons with others and live out our social roles we seem to be affected – so we assume that so is the formation of our “self”. In reality, it isn’t affected. With an idealist view of a non-physical self, that also possesses continuity and unity it can be exposed how flawed this view of self is, and how others play no role whatsoever in the formation of the self. However, our sensory knowledge which is deceptive, leads us to believe in an incorrect view of self, causing the illusion of the importance of the role of others in the formation of the self.

Initially, we must realise our view of self may be mistaken, so before looking at the role of others in its formation, we must know: what truly is the self? Generally speaking, there are three main theories concerning the composition of self and the nature of reality.

Physicalism/Materialism argues that ultimately everything is composed of only matter and presents a physical material self (the brain and body). Hence, it claims that psychological events can be reduced to physical phenomena in the brain. In addition, it does not account for “qualia” that is the “what it is like” to be something, a materialist ignores the subjective experience of an organism and tries to explain it objectively which would seem impossible (Nagel, T 1979). To account for this, dualism makes dual commitments about the nature of existence as it relates to mind and matter, which are separate non-physical and physical entities (substantialist dualism); therefore the self is composed of both mind and matter. Whilst, dualism does explain the distinction between our mental and physical states it fails to...