John Lysaker – Our Subjective Multiplicity
The Concordia Philosophy Colloquium Series Presents:
Department of Philosophy
Our Subjective Multiplicity
Friday November 20, 2009, 16:00-18:00
PR-100, Philosophy Department, 2100 Mackay
Abstract: For decades, philosophers have “de-centered” the self, calling into question essentialist conceptions of human nature and ego based theories of mind, to the point that theorists like Rorty relinquished the project of self-discovery in favor of a project of self-creation while Foucault could announce, with confidence, the “total dispersion of the human” into networks of social forces. In the wake of such arguments, a reconstructive account has gone missing, however, that is, few theorists have ventured a non-egological account of selfhood. Taking my leave from Nietzsche’s provocative reference to the self as a “subjective multiplicity,” I am developing a non-egological conception of the self that brings hermeneutic phenomenology and critical social theory into conversation with the dialogical self theory developed by Hubert Hermans and others in the Netherlands in the 1990’s. My claim will be that the self, in its personal, social, and material occurrence, is best understood as a constellation (or dynamic system) of interanimating self-positions, including social roles (e.g. self-as-parent, what I term “character positions”), psycho-physiological states (e.g. self-as-anxious, what I term “organism positions”), and moments of reflective self-regard (e.g. self-as-failure, what I term “meta-positions”). Moreover, I will claim that such an interanimating system is sufficient to underwrite the meaning-making projects that each human life is.
Prof. Lysaker is co-author of Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self (Oxford, 2008) as well as the author of Emerson and Self-Culture (Indiana, 2008) and You Must Change Your Life: Poetry and the Birth of Sense (Penn State, 2002), and is co-editor of the forthcoming Emerson and Thoreau: Figures of Friendship (Indiana, 2009).
The Colloquium Series is sponsored by the Concordia University Philosophy Department.
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