Raymond Martin and John Barresi trace the development of Western ideas about personal identity and reveal the larger intellectual trends, controversies, and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves. They begin with ancient Greece, where the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and the materialistic atomists laid the groundwork for future theories. They then discuss the ideas of the church fathers and medieval and Renaissance philosophers, including St. Paul, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, and Montaigne. In their coverage of the emergence of a new mechanistic conception of nature in the seventeenth century, Martin and Barresi note a shift away from religious and purely philosophical notions of self and personal identity to more scientific and social conceptions, a trend that has continued to the present day. They explore modern philosophy and psychology, including the origins of different traditions within each discipline, and explain the theoretical relevance of both feminism and gender and ethnic studies and also the ways that Derrida and other recent thinkers have challenged the very idea that a unified self or personal identity even exists.
- Publication Date:
- 22 / 07 / 2006