The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Here is a review of Shaun Gallagher’s door-stopper of a book – the publisher’s blurb and toc below. (I’ve just finished a paper for another collection that would have fitted in this collection since communitarian notions of identity seem to be missing).

Research on the topic of self has increased significantly in recent years across a number of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, psychopathology, and neuroscience. The Oxford Handbook of the Self is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that address questions in all of these areas. In philosophy and some areas of cognitive science, the emphasis on embodied cognition has fostered a renewed interest in rethinking personal identity, mind-body dualism, and overly Cartesian conceptions of self. Poststructuralist deconstructions of traditional metaphysical conceptions of subjectivity have led to debates about whether there are any grounds (moral if not metaphysical) for reconstructing the notion of self. Questions about whether selves actually exist or have an illusory status have been raised from perspectives as diverse as neuroscience, Buddhism, and narrative theory. With respect to self-agency, similar questions arise in experimental psychology. In addition, advances in developmental psychology have pushed to the forefront questions about the ontogenetic origin of self-experience, while studies of psychopathology suggest that concepts like self and agency are central to explaining important aspects of pathological experience. These and other issues motivate questions about how we understand, not only “the self”, but also how we understand ourselves in social and cultural contexts.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Diversity of Selves, Shaun Gallagher
1. Self: Beginnings and Basics

1. History as Prologue: Western Theories of the Self, John Barresi and Raymond Martin
2. What is it Like to be a Newborn?, Philippe Rochat
3. Self-Recognition, Gordon G. Gallup, Jr., James R. Anderson, and Steven M. Platek
4. Self in the Brain, Kai Vogeley and Shaun Gallagher

2. Bodily Selves

5. The Embodied Self, Quassim Cassam
6. Body Awareness and Self-Consciousness, Jose Bermudez
7. The Sense of Body Ownership, Manos Tsakiris
8. Phenomenological Dimensions of Bodily Self-Consciousness, Dorothee Legrand
9. Witnessing from Here: Self-Awareness from a Bodily versus Embodied Perspective, Aaron Henry and Evan Thompson

3. Phenomenology and Metaphysics of self

10. The Minimal Subject, Galen Strawson
11. The No-Self Alternative, Thomas Metzinger
12. Buddhist Non-Self: The No-Owner’s Manual, Mark Siderits
13. Unity of Consciousness and the Problem of Self, Dan Zahavi

4. Personal Identity, Narrative Identity, and Self-Knowledge

14. Personal Identity, John Campbell
15. On What We Are, Sidney Shoemaker
16. On Knowing your Self, John Perry
17. The Narrative Self, Marya Schechtman

5. Action and the Moral Dimensions of Self

18. The Unimportance of Identity, Derek Parfit
19. Self-Agency, Elisabeth Pacherie
20. Self-Control in Action, Alfred Mele
21. Moral Responsibility and the Self , David Shoemaker

6. Self Pathologies

22. The Structure of Self-Consciousness in Schizophrenia, Josef Parnas and Louis Sass
23. Multiple Selves, Jennifer Radden
24. Autism and the Self, Peter Hobson
25. The Self: Growth, Integrity, and Coming Apart, Marcia Cavell

7. The Self in Diverse Contexts

26. Our Glassy Essence: the Fallible Self in Pragmatist Thought, Richard Menary
27. The Social Construction of Self, Kenneth Gergen
28. The Dialogical Self: A Process of Positioning in Space and Time, Hubert Hermans
29. Glass Selves: Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Research Process, Elspeth Probyn
30. The Postmodern Self: An Essay on Anachronism and Powerlessness, Leonard Lawlor
31. Self, Subjectivity, and the Instituted Social Imaginary, Lorraine Code