Graeco-Roman Varieties of Self

  • Richard Sorabji
Part of the The New Synthese Historical Library book series (SYNL, volume 64)

In a recent book,1 I argued for the idea that there is such a thing as the self. Part of what I meant by the self was the individual embodied owner of a body and of psychological states. I contrasted this conception with the idea that there is only an embodied stream of consciousness, without any owner of the consciousness. I rejected the claim that the only alternative to an embodied stream of consciousness would be some disembodied owner of consciousness, and I found the concept of disembodied ownership of consciousness problematic, even though I did not finally rule out the belief of some religions in an embodied human owner becoming disembodied.

So far, even the simplest animals might meet my description of the self as an embodied individual owner. But I added something else into my account of the self, that for the preservation of a human (or higher animal) way of life, it was necessary to view the world in terms of its relation to me and me again, not just in terms of its relation to a member or members of a stream. A self, I suggested, is an embodied individual owner who sees himself or herself as me and me again, and human or higher animal life would be impossible without this viewpoint.


Human Rationality Individual Owner Ancient Philosopher Human Intellect Rational Soul 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Sorabji
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK
  2. 2.Wolfson CollegeUniversity of OxfordUK
  3. 3.New York UniversityUSA

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