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The idea of the self : thought and experience in western Europe since the seventeenth century / Jerrold Seigel.


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Seigel, Jerrold E.
Publication date:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Book
  • viii, 724 p. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 660-713) and index.
  • Part I. Introductory: 1. Dimensions and contexts of selfhood-- 2. Between ancients and moderns-- Part II. British modernity: 3. Personal identity and modern selfhood: Locke-- 4. Self-centeredness and sociability: Mandeville and Hume-- 5. Adam Smith and modern self-fashioning-- Part III. Society and Self-Knowledge: France from Old Regime to Restoration: 6. Sensationalism, reflection, and inner freedom: Condillac and Diderot-- 7. Wholeness, withdrawal, self-revelation: Rousseau-- 8. Reflectivity, sense-experience, and the perils of social life: Maine de Biran and Constant-- Part IV. The World and the Self in German Idealism: 9. Autonomy, limitation, and the purposiveness of nature: Kant-- 10. Purposiveness and Bildung: Herder, Humboldt, and Goethe-- 11. The ego and the world: Fichte, Novalis, Schelling-- 12. Universal selfhood: Hegel-- Part V. The Past in the Present: 13. Dejection, insight, and self-making: Coleridge and Mill-- 14. From cultivated subjectivity to the polarities of self-formation in nineteenth-century France-- 15. Society and selfhood reconciled: Janet, Fouill, Bergson-- 16. Will, reflection, and self-overcoming: Schopenhauer and Nietzsche-- 17. Being and transcendence: Heidegger-- 18. Deaths and transfigurations of the self: Foucault and Derrida-- 19. Conclusion-- Bibliography-- Index.
  • (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Publisher's Summary:
What is the self? The question has preoccupied people in many times and places, but nowhere more than in the modern West, where it has spawned debates that still resound today. Jerrold Seigel here provides an original and penetrating narrative of how major Western European thinkers and writers have confronted the self since the time of Descartes, Leibniz, and Locke. From an approach that is at once theoretical and contextual, he examines the way figures in Britain, France, and Germany have understood whether and how far individuals can achieve coherence and consistency in the face of the inner tensions and external pressures that threaten to divide or overwhelm them. He makes clear that recent 'postmodernist' accounts of the self belong firmly to the tradition of Western thinking they have sought to supersede, and provides an open-ended and persuasive alternative to claims that the modern self is typically egocentric or disengaged.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)

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