Exploring the Concept of 'Self' in Modern Philosophy

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Truth of oneself makes it visible when faced with absurd events in life where all ethical issues fade away. One cannot always pinpoint to a specific trait or what the core essence they discover, but it is often described as “finding one’s self”. In religious context, the essential self would be regarded as soul. Whereas, for some there is no such concept as self that exists since they believe that humans are just animals caught in the mechanistic world. However, modern philosophy sheds a positive light and tries to prove the existence of a self. Modern philosophers, Descartes and Hume in particular, draw upon the notion of the transcendental self, thinking self, and the empirical self, self of public life. Hume’s bundle theory serves as a distinction between these two notions here and even when both of these conception in their distinction make valid points, neither of them is more accurate.

A self is some sort of inner being or principle, essential to, but not identical with, the person as whole. It is that in a person that thinks and feels. The self is usually conceived in philosophy as that which one refer to with the word “I”. It is that part or aspects of a person that accounts for personal identity through time. In spite of all the ways one can change with time, the self is invariably same through time. A self is what is supposed to account for the fact that an individual is same person today as he/she was at the age of five, given that all his characteristics have changed over time. For instance, compared to his childhood, this individual is stronger, taller, and smarter; he has different aspirations and dreams, different thoughts and fears, his interests and activities are remarkably different. Yet, he is still the same ...

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...have struggled with the nature of human beings, especially with the concept of “self”. What Plato called “soul, Descartes named the “mind”, while Hume used the term “self”. This self, often visible during hardships, is what one can be certain of, whose existence is undoubtable. Descartes’s “I think, therefore I am” concept of transcendental self with just the conscious mind is too simplistic to capture the whole of one’s self. Similarly, the empirical self’s idea of brain in charge of one’s self also shows a narrow perspective. Hume’s bundle theory seeks to provide the distinction by claiming that a self is merely a habitual way of discussing certain perceptions. Although the idea of self is well established, philosophical insight still sees that there is no clear presentation of essential self and thus fails to prove that the true, essential self really exists.

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