The philosophy of the self describes essential qualities that define a person as an independent entity within nature. Various philosophical approaches have been advanced to explain the ‘self’; however, there cannot be one universally agreed definition of the self. In this paper, I will single out one description of the self and defend it using philosophical arguments.
The ‘self’ is viewed as a “Material/empirical being having a nonmaterial/cognitive experience.” This definition concurs with the empirical view of the self as explained by Aristotle, and partially supported by Rene Descartes. In this regard, the ‘self’ is seen as an agent that is responsible for thoughts and actions to which an individual is ascribed.
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The two parts of our definition are complimentary since the body without cognition may not qualify as a person just as Descartes has suggested. Though the definition may not be as complex to explain the elements of the external surrounding, the definition is the most appropriate since it marries views from various philosophers (Descartes, Kant, Aristotle) to bring one succinct description of the self. Therefore, ‘self’ can be defined as a material or empirical being with a nonmaterial or cognitive experience.
“Understanding the Psychology of Self-Consciousness,” dummies.com. Accessed September 29, 2014. Web.
Descartes, René. Descartes: Selected Philosophical Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Print.