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The Rise and Fall of Soul and Self: An Intellectual History of Personal Identity

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  3 reviews
This book traces the development of theories of the self and personal identity from the ancient Greeks to the present day. From Plato and Aristotle to Freud and Foucault, Raymond Martin and John Barresi explore the works of a wide range of thinkers and reveal the larger intellectual trends, controversies, and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves. ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 3rd 2008 by Columbia University Press (first published 2006)
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Gord Higginson
Book that is a nay-sayer to the existence of the soul--absolute beginner's book--great for people like me who have had very little exposure to philosophy. In fact, some commentators complain that this book is TOO basic, that if you have a basic knowledge of Western Philosophy in general, then this book is too simple for you. But that is fine with me--I find Philosophy difficult to understand.
Nevertheless, this is an excellent history. It goes from Homer and the 3 main ancient Greek concepts of t
Sara M. Watson
Really useful western philosophy overview for my quantified self project.
Scott Connelly
An excellent survey of the history of personal identity. At times I wanted more detail about a particular thinker or concept. This isn't to say that the authors treated the subject in a shallow way. Only what you will find her is not a deep thorough exploration of any particular idea, rather an introduction to a number of ideas and how they relate and interact with others. A very useful book for under standing the historical context of our attempts to understand our 'selves'.
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“Plato launched an empirical psychology, the first of its kind in the West. Others, prior to Plato, tended to make proposals about what sort of matter the soul is made of—air, earth, fire, or water. No one had proposed a theory about how the different parts of a human personality work together to produce human behavior. This sort of thing is what today is called a faculty psychology. It is called this because it posits separate mechanisms—or faculties—in the mind (or body) whose function it is to control different aspects of human mentality. Faculty psychologies are contrasted with functional psychologies, which explain different aspects of human mentality not by assigning them to different mechanisms in the mind or brain but rather to different ways in which a single organ of mentality functions. Aristotle, and then various thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thinkers, wavered between these two views. Recently, with the advent in cognitive psychology of modular theories of human mentality, a modern descendant of Plato’s faculty psychology has come back into fashion.” 0 likes
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