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Identity and Self-Determination

  • Matthew Whittingham
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter brings together the epistemological conclusions I have reached with my earlier concerns about the individual’s ability to freely develop himself. This chapter is the culmination of everything argued so far and offers an account of the individual as being partially constituted by the self-descriptions he forms of himself, where those descriptions are subject to socially grounded objective standards while also allowing the subject to have a degree of creativity in choosing which descriptions to endorse. I also briefly discuss the possibility of critically developing those social frameworks within which we are participants as a way of opening up to ourselves new possibilities of self-description. In this way the development of both the individual and the social world can still be understood on the basis of a critical interaction between the two, where each contains conflicts and tensions that can only be resolved by the mutual development of each. A second important strand of argument in this chapter aims to show that certain essential features of the human identity—certain forms of emotional response or evaluative orientation—depend on the world of meanings opened up to us by social practice.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Whittingham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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