Está en la página 1de 61

Understanding the Self

© 2018

Course Details Assessments

Modules Resources
Module 1.
Introduction to
Understanding
the Self

Your understanding of your inner self holds the meaning of your life Click Here to Start
Module 1. Introduction to
Understanding the Self

Module Objectives
To introduce the concept, definition, and
processes of self-understanding encompassing
the scientific and philosophical explanations
about the Self and Identity. The module also
broadly introduces the factors that contribute to
one’s being and identity.
Module 1. Introduction to Unit 2. What Philosophy Says
about the Self
Understanding the Self
This unit highlights how classical
This module tackles the fundamental and modern philosophical models
concepts and principles of the Self. This covers defined the Self, the evolution of
the different factors that contribute to one’s these philosophical frameworks
being, the philosophical and theoretical from ancient to contemporary
explanations about the self across generations times, and the relevance of the
of philosophers and theorists, as well as the philosophy of the self to how the
explanations of different fields of sciences younger generation define their
about the self and identity. own sense of self.

Unit 1. Social, Environmental, and other Unit 3. What Science Says


Life Factors (S.E.L.F) about the Self
This unit discusses the different
This unit introduces you to the journey of
aspects of science and how they
understanding the self. This will highlight the
explain the concept of the Self.
different factors (Social, Environmental,
Natural science and social
Biological, and other life factors) that contribute
sciences encompass a number of
to the development of the Self.
disciplines that have deliberated
Click Here to Begin on the nature of the Self. Such
discourses will be tackled in this
section.
Unit 1. Social, Environmental, and other
Life Factors (S.E.L.F)
This unit introduces you to the journey of
understanding the self. This will highlight the
different factors (Social, Environmental,
Biological, and other life factors) that contribute
to the development of the Self.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of this Unit, students are expected to


demonstrate the following:

1. Determine the different factors that contribute to one’s being.


2. Evaluate the impact of the different Factors of the Self according one’s self-appraisal.
3. Synthesize the influence of the different Factors of the Self based on group assessment.
Diagnostics
 Learning Checkpoint
Do you AGREE or DISAGREE?

 We can be whatever or whoever we want to be.

 Our tendencies are completely controllable.

 We are what we are right now because we want to be like this.

 There are still many things that we haven’t discovered about ourselves.

 Our parents (or family members) can only influence us while we are in the
growing up years.
An Overview of Self/Identity
The Self is one of the most interesting topics that people
talk about everyday. We may not be conscious about it
but every time we mention the ‘I’ e.g., I will go to school, I
hangout with my friends, I like to eat burger, we are
talking about the self as “actors”. Further, we always
mention the ‘me’ as the object, e.g., tell me about it, give
me something, it makes me feel awesome. Noticeably, the
Self composes both the I- as an actor and the Me- as the
object. Our interest about the self is even more evident
in the functional word variations of I and Me that we use
in our everyday language depending on our purpose (e.g.,
my, mine, myself, etc.).

Our consciousness of the existence of the Self has been


almost automatic or reflexive and we are almost unaware
that in our everyday lives we are constantly talking about
it.
Issues on Understanding the Self
Many scholars (i.e., theorists, scientists, philosophers)
in different fields and across generations have
attempted to explain and thoroughly expound on
several issues and controversies about the nature,
existence, and dimensionality of self. The most
prevalent among issues on self, are the issues on:

NATURE vs. NURTURE


Uni vs. Multi
DIMENSIONALITIES

SELF vs. IDENTITY


Issue No. 1.
NATURE vs. NURTURE
NATURE
While some insist that the self is predominantly a product
Biological sciences which explain that our traits
of natural processes to which people are inherently
are passed on to humanity from one generation
predisposed, some argue that the self is largely influenced to another, and these transmitted traits served as
and principally constructed by one’s social environments. a blueprint of our self and make us predispose to
certain self-expressions (e.g., attitude, behavior,
tendencies, etc.). Here, the self is being studied
structurally and functionally, from the molecular
level to the entirety of human physiological
systems. Genetics for example contributed so
much information about the descriptions of the
self. This field of biology primarily deals with the
study of heredity (transmission of traits and
characteristics from generation to another) as a
process, as well as on the characterizations
(similarities and differences) of organisms.
Issue No. 1.
NATURE vs. NURTURE
NURTURE
While some insist that the self is predominantly a product
Social Sciences argue though that the self should
of natural processes to which people are inherently
be principally viewed as an outcome of various
predisposed, some argue that the self is largely influenced nurturing factors in the context of one’s social
and principally constructed by one’s social environments. life. Social Sciences have provided manifold of
insights and explanations about the self both on
the micro and macro level of one’s social life.
Different fields of social science stresses how
group life (formal and informal) affects
individuals’ behavior and attitude, and
emphasizes on the impact of various social
institutions to the self-construal of an individual.
LET’S REFLECT : What is your stand on the issue?
Issue No. 1.
We are what we are right
NATURE vs. NURTURE now because of….

NATURE NURTURE
LET’S REFLECT : What is your stand on the issue?
Issue No. 1.
NATURE vs. NURTURE While arguments about
the predominance of
either nature or
NATURE NURTURE nurture are still
unresolved, we could
settle for an eclectic
standpoint on this
issue. We can safely
assume that our self
is BOTH a product of
NATURE and NURTURE.
Issues on Understanding the Self
Many scholars (i.e., theorists, scientists, philosophers)
in different fields and across generations have
attempted to explain and thoroughly expound on
several issues and controversies about the nature,
existence, and dimensionality of self. The most
prevalent among issues on self, are the issues on:

NATURE vs. NURTURE


Uni vs. Multi
DIMENSIONALITIES

SELF vs. IDENTITY


Issue No. 2.
SELF vs. IDENTITY
IDENTITY
While some insist that the self is predominantly a product
Identity: Based on lexical definition, Identity
of natural processes to which people are inherently (noun, iden·ti·ty\ī-ˈden-tə-tē, ə-, -ˈde-nə-\)
predisposed, some argue that the self is largely influenced referred to “the qualities, beliefs, etc., that
and principally constructed by one’s social environment. make a particular person or group different
from others… or the distinguishing character
Self and Identity are topics that remain popular not only
or personality of an individual”
among psychologists (authors of psychology articles) but
also to other social scientist like sociologists, cultural
anthropologists, economists, among others. Noticeably,
the term self and identity in various literatures have
been loosely interchanged by many authors. For many,
there is a very thin conceptual and functional distinction
between the two concepts and many people perceive
them as synonymous.
Issue No. 2.
SELF vs. IDENTITY
SELF
While some insist that the self is predominantly a product
Self: Based on lexical definition, Self (noun) is
of natural processes to which people are inherently “the person that someone normally or truly
predisposed, some argue that the self is largely influenced is… or the entire person of an individual”.
and principally constructed by one’s social environment.
Self and Identity are topics that remain popular not only
among psychologists (authors of psychology articles) but
also to other social scientist like sociologists, cultural
anthropologists, economists, among others. Noticeably,
the term self and identity in various literatures have
been loosely interchanged by many authors. For many,
there is a very thin conceptual and functional distinction
between the two concepts and many people perceive
them as synonymous.
LET’S REFLECT : What do you think, similar or different?
Issue No. 2.
SELF vs. IDENTITY I am my__________

SELF IDENTITY
LET’S REFLECT : What do you think, similar or different?
Issue No. 2. A comprehensive definition that underscores the
SELF vs. IDENTITY distinctions and overlap of self and identity was
given by Oyserman, Elmore, and Smith (pg. 69,
2012) which states that:
“Identities are the traits and characteristics, social
relations, roles, and social group memberships that
define who one is. Identities can be focused on the
past-what used to be true of one, the present-what
is true of one now, or the future-the person one
expects or wishes to become, the person one feels
obligated to try to become, or the person one fears
one may become; together, identities make up
one's self-concept variously described as what
comes to mind when one thinks of oneself’.
Issues on Understanding the Self
Many scholars (i.e., theorists, scientists, philosophers)
in different fields and across generations have
attempted to explain and thoroughly expound on
several issues and controversies about the nature,
existence, and dimensionality of self. The most
prevalent among issues on self, are the issues on:

NATURE vs. NURTURE


Uni vs. Multi
DIMENSIONALITIES
SELF vs. IDENTITY
Issue No. 3.
UNI vs. MULTI
Dimensionality of the Self DIMENSIONALITIES OF SELF
We are what we are right now not just because of a single Some people believe that the Self or
factor. We are developed by many factors… Identity can be more accurately
depicted using a single factor or
aspect. For example, we often hear
people ask another to describe a
particular person using a number of
words. Can we really describe
someone using only a few words?
Issue No. 3.
UNI vs. MULTI
Dimensionality of the Self DIMENSIONALITIES OF SELF
We are what we are right now not just because of a single You are now asked to describe a
factor. We are developed by many factors… particular person using only one
word (e.g., Your Best Friend), how
will you describe him/her?

My Best Friend is:

__________________________
Issue No. 3.
UNI vs. MULTI
Dimensionality of the Self DIMENSIONALITIES OF SELF
We are what we are right now not just because of a single My Best friend is _______________
factor. We are developed by many factors…
How will you categorize this
description in terms of aspect of the
self?
a. Physical
b. Emotional
c. Social
d. Intellectual
e. Spiritual
Issue No. 3.
UNI vs. MULTI
Dimensionality of Self DIMENSIONALITIES OF THE SELF
We are what we are right now not just because of a single Many people tend to provide
factor. We are developed by many factors…
Physical Description…
Physical Appearance – Refers to how we
physically present our self to other people.
Though we can consider that the physical
appearance is just a surface description that we
can use to describe a person, this dimension of
the Self tends to be very critical for some
practical purposes (e.g., easy recall, creating
impression, making judgement, etc. ) .
LET’S REFLECT : Do you think it’s fair to describe a person
using only a few words?
Issue No. 3.
UNI vs. MULTI Our Self cannot be singly
Dimensionality of the Self represented by a certain trait
because our Self/Identity is
composed of multidimensional
aspects and that we are a
PRODUCT of multidimensional
FACTORS.
Multidimensionality of the Self

Society
Heredity
Multidimensionality of the Self

Social Factor of the Self


Refers to the influences of significant people in a person’s
life. This particularly includes the social groups where and
individual identifies oneself. Social factors are strong
foundations of one’s being. The characteristics that we
acquired from the influences of the social groups where
we interact with during the growing up years are
integrated to form our identity, or our uniqueness and
similarities with others.
 Family
 Peer Groups
 Organizations
 And other significant people in a person’s life (e.g.,
teacher, role-model, relatives, etc.)
Multidimensionality of the Self

Environmental Factor of the Self


Broadly includes the physical and communal elements present in
our everyday surrounding, and is invariably dealt with by
individuals in a specific geographic region or area. This is not only
about the physical properties of the surrounding (i.e., climate
and temperature, forms of land, etc.) but this factor principally
includes the larger society or community and the expectations
and norms operating in that particular locality or place.

For example:
A person who grew up in a city, where competitiveness and
resiliency are needed in order to survive would tend to adapt in
to that kind of environment by consciously strengthening certain
traits and skills that will manifest competitiveness (e.g.,
communicative, intellective, etc.). In the process, the harnessed
characteristics become an integral part of one’s Self or Identity.
Multidimensionality of the Self

Hereditary Factor of the Self


Heredity is a biological process by which certain traits and
characteristics are passed on from one generation to
another. This factor compared with the two previously
discussed factors can be depicted as the non-negotiable
factor. If one has the choice whether or not to adopt the
influence of social groups and to change (improve) one’s
environment, heredity as a factor of one’s being and
identity is relatively fixed and permanent.
• Physical Attributes (e.g., height, complexion, color of
eyes, etc.)
• Some Cognitive Traits (e.g., I.Q)
• Some other Personal Characteristics
Multidimensionality of the Self

Person-Volition Factor of the Self


The most controversial factor of the Self or Identity. This
refers to the inclination of a person to form and construct
a specific identity, which will set him apart or unique
compared with others. Such factor emanates from within
the mentality of an individual, but also brought about by
the aggregated social-life experiences. Social scientists
(e.g., sociologist) may refer to this type of person as
deviant and non-conformist. But being one is not
necessarily negative, in fact, some of the people of this
type turned in to trend-setters, discoverers and inventors
Multidimensionality of the Self

Things to Ponder About


We have learned that our Self or Identity is a product of
both nature and nurture, and an outcome of various
factors (multidimensionality).

• If we are a product of both nature and nurture, which


between the two contributed more to our Self-
development?

• How do the different factors (of the self) interact in the


development of the self or identity?
Module 1. Introduction to Understanding the Self
Unit 1. Social, Environmental, and other Life Factors (S.E.L.F)
Module Assessment
Check your workbook:
• Exercise No. 1 . The Factors of My Self (pg. 8)
• Exercise No. 2. The Factors of My Self and Others (pg. 9)

Assignment No. 1
Metacognitive Reading Report (pg. 10)
Readings:
• Dainton, B. (2014). Self. Prospect Magazine, LA.
• Holt, J. (2014). Is there such a thing as self? Prospect Magazine, LA.
• Oyserman, D., Elmore, K., Smith, G. (2012). Handbook of Self and Identity, Second
Ed.The Guildford Press, NY.
Module 1. Introduction to Unit 2. What Philosophy Says
about the Self
Understanding the Self
This unit highlights how classical and
This module tackles the fundamental modern philosophical models defined
concepts and principles of the Self. This covers the Self, the evolution of these
the different factors that contribute to one’s philosophical frameworks from
being, the philosophical and theoretical ancient to contemporary times, and
explanations about the self across generations the relevance of the philosophy of the
of philosophers and theorists, as well as the self to how the younger generation
explanations of different fields of sciences define their own sense of self.
about the self and identity.

Unit 1. Social, Environmental, and other


Unit 3. What Science Says about
Life Factors (S.E.L.F)
the Self
This unit introduces you to the journey of This unit discusses the different
understanding the self. This will highlight the aspects of science and how they
different factors (Social, Environmental, explain the concept of the Self.
Biological, and other life factors) that contribute Natural science and social sciences
to the development of the Self. encompass a number of disciplines
that have deliberated on the nature
of the Self. Such discourses will be
tackled in this section.
Unit 2. What Philosophy Says About the Self
This unit highlights how classical and modern
philosophical models defined the Self, the
evolution of these philosophical frameworks from
ancient to contemporary times, and the relevance
of the philosophy of the self to how the millennial
generation define their own sense of self.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of this Unit, students are expected to


demonstrate the following:

1. Define and explain the different philosophical standpoints about the Self.
2. Trace and explain how philosophical models have transformed from classical to contemporary times.
3. Synthesize and evaluate the different perspectives of the Self.
4. Analyse the relevance of various philosophical standpoints to their sense of the Self.
Diagnostics
 Learning Checkpoint
Do you AGREE or DISAGREE?

 Different Philosophers hold the same views about the Self.

 Philosophers have used empirical and rational lens in explaining the self.

 Philosophy of the Self as explained by modern philosophers are more


relevant than the standpoint of ancient philosophers.

 Philosophical views of the self are useful guide to a better life.

 Philosophy of the self should only be studied by older individuals and not
for younger generations.
The Philosophy of the Self
The Self has been defined as “as a unified being, essentially
connected to consciousness, awareness, and agency (or, at
least, with the faculty of rational choice) “. Different
philosophers have come up with more specific characteristics
of the Self, and over time, these meanings have transformed
from pure abstractions to explanations that hold scientific
evidences.
The Philosophy of the Self
The ancient philosophy of self can be traced back from the
ancient Greek aphorism (one of 147 aphorisms prominently
inscribed in the temple of Apollo at Delphi), “know thyself”
(Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν, transliterated: gnōthi seauton).

• The aphorism (or principle) was used by Socrates as his


guiding principle that he passed on to his students. Since
Socrates as a guru preferred to engage his students in
endless discussion, it is said that he had never written
down any of his ideas but instead untiringly discussed
concepts and principles with his students. Socrates believed
that the real self is not the physical body, but rather the
psyche (or soul). He further posited that the appearance of
the body is inferior to its functions.
The Philosophy of the Self
It was Plato, Socrates’ prized student who thoroughly expound
on Socrates ideas of self. Plato’s conceptualization of the Self
was profoundly introduced in his dialogue Phaedrus, which has
been a popular text for many decades in the subject of
Philosophy. The main idea in this dialogue is about truth-
seeking, and that the truth can be distinguished in two forms:
the metaphysical realm (mind) and the physical world (body).
Plato suggested that the existence or the truth about the
human self is fundamentally an intellectual entity whose
nature exists independent from the physical world. Plato
bifurcated the truth or reality into two: the “ontos” (ideal), the
ultimate reality which tend to be permanent and spiritual, and
the “phenomena” which refers to the manifestation of the
ideal. In contrast with ontos, phenomena is imperfect,
impermanent and inferior to the latter.
The Philosophy of the Self
Plato’s idea of truth about the human self was even more
expounded and formalized by his prized student, Aristotle.
While Plato emphasized the separation of ideal and
phenomenal existence (or being), Aristotle suggested that the
ideal is subsumed in the phenomena. Aristotle called ideal as
“essence” and the phenomena as “matter”. He also
emphasized that the two co-exist and are co-dependent, the
essence provides meaning and purpose to the matter, and the
matter provides substance and solidity to essence.
The Philosophy of the Self
Philosophy of the self has been defined through two distinct
philosophical lens:

Empiricism - derives explanations of the self from sensory and


bodily responses. We know things because we have
experienced it through our bodily senses.

Rationalism - there is innate knowledge; they differ in that


they choose different objects of innate knowledge.
Rationalism explains self from the standpoint of what is “ideal”
and the “truth”, not rooted in what is felt by the senses nor
our body.
The Philosophy of the Self
What are the different philosophical views of the Self?
There is abundance in literature that highlights the
similarities and contrasting standpoints of the self.
Socrates and Plato have explained the Self from a
theoretical and logical orientation; Aristotle was an
empiricist, deriving views of the self from physical and
scientific underpinnings. St. Augustine adopted the
views of Plato and infused it to his religious philosophy.
John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant were
empiricist philosophers; Rene Descartes was a dominant
rational philosopher during the Middle Ages. Among
contemporary philosophers, majority are empiricists:
Gilbert Ryle, Patricia Churchland, and Maurice
Merleau-Ponty have incorporated biological and
neuroscience in their philosophies.
Philosopher Orientation Philosophy Description
Philosophy of the Self
Classical Antiquity

Socrates Idealism Socratic  Knowledge is the personification of good


Philosophy while Ignorance is that of evil.
 Self-knowledge is the ultimate virtue. As the
ultimate virtue, it will lead to ultimate
happiness.
Plato Idealism Dualism  Moral virtue is rooted in the intellect and
and leads to happiness.
Idealism  Wisdom and knowledge leads to virtue which
will lead to happiness.

Aristotle Empiricist Aristotelian  Ideal is found inside the phenomena and the
Philosophy universals inside the particulars.
 Ideals are ESSENCE.
 Phenomena is MATTER.
 Matter has no form. Essence has no mass.
 Matter and Essence need each other.
Philosophy of the Self

Philosopher Orientation Philosophy Description

Middle Agess

 All knowledge leads to God.


 Only the pure in heart can see God.
St. Augustine Platonism Neoplatonism  Love of God, faith in Him and
Understanding of his Gospel will
ultimately lead to Happiness.
Philosopher Orientation Philosophy Description
Philosophy of the Self
Renaissance
Descartes Rationalist Mind-body  “I think, therefore, I am.”
Dualism  The mind and soul can exist without the body.
 Establishing the distinction of soul from the body can
make people believe in the afterlife and the soul’s
immortality.
Locke Empiricist Theory of  It is in consciousness alone that identity exists, not
Personal on the body and soul.
Identity  There is a distinction between man and person.
 The soul may change, but consciousness remains
intact.
Hume Empiricist Skeptical  All knowledge passes through the senses.
Philosophy  Separate ideas can be joined in the mind.
 There is no self, only a bundle of perceptions.
Kant Rationalist Metaphysics  Reason is the final authority of morality.
/ Empiricist of the Self  There is the inner self and outer self;
 The inner self includes rational reasoning and
psychological state.
 The outer self includes the body and physical mind,
where representation occurs.
Philosophy of the Self Philosopher Orientation Philosophy Description

Modern Times
Ryle Empiricist The Concept of  “I act, therefore, I am.”
Mind  The mind is not the seat of self.
 It is not a separate, parallel thing to our physical
body.
 The mind is a category mistake, brought about by
habitual use. The only way it can affect the other
is through the external world.
Churchland Empiricist Neurophilosop  A fully matured neuroscience will eliminate the
hy need for beliefs since “they are not real.”
 The physical brain gives us a sense of self.
Merleau- Existentialism Phenomenolog  Both empiricism and intellectualism are flawed
Ponty Empiricist y of Perception in nature.
 “We are our bodies.”
 Our bodily experiences do not detach the
subject/object, mind/body, rational/irrational.
Philosophy of the Self Things to Ponder About
We have seen how philosophy of the self has evolved
from ancient to modern times. From conceptual
hypotheses of the self, modern times have seen the self
from scientific and biological standpoints.

 Do you agree with what these philosophers have concluded


about the self?
 Do you see how their explanations of the self apply to you in
the present?
 If you are to choose one particular philosophy of the Self,
what would it be and why?
Module 1. Introduction to Understanding the Self
Unit 2. What Philosophy Says About the Self
Module Assessment
Check your workbook:
• Exercise No. 1 . How Do I See My Self (pg. 16)
• Exercise No. 2. How Do I See My Self and Others (pg. 17)

Assignment No. 2
Metacognitive Reading Report (pg. 18)
Readings:
• Chafee, J. (2013) Who are you? Consciousness, Identity and the Self. In the
Philosopher’s Way: Thinking Critically about Profound Ideas. Pearson. 106-169
• Mahdi, M (1962). Alfarabi’s Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.
• Speaks, J (2006). Ryle’s behaviorist view of the mind.
Module 1. Introduction to Unit 2. What Philosophy Says
about the Self
Understanding the Self
This unit highlights how classical
This module tackles the fundamental and modern philosophical models
concepts and principles of the Self. This covers defined the Self, the evolution of
the different factors that contribute to one’s these philosophical frameworks
being, the philosophical and theoretical from ancient to contemporary
explanations about the self across generations times, and the relevance of the
of philosophers and theorists, as well as the philosophy of the self to how the
explanations of different fields of sciences younger generation define their
about the self and identity. own sense of self.

Unit 1. Social, Environmental, and other Unit 3. What Science Says


Life Factors (S.E.L.F) about the Self
This unit discusses the different
This unit introduces you to the journey of
aspects of science and how they
understanding the self. This will highlight the
explain the concept of the Self.
different factors (Social, Environmental,
Natural science and social
Biological, and other life factors) that contribute
sciences encompass a number of
to the development of the Self.
disciplines that have deliberated
on the nature of the Self. Such
discourses will be tackled in this
section.
Unit 3. What Science Says About the Self
This unit discusses the different fields of science
and how they explain the concept of Self. Natural
science and social sciences encompass a number
of disciplines that have deliberated on the nature
of Self. Such discourses will be tackled in this
section.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of this Unit, students are expected to


demonstrate the following:

1. Define and explain the different scientific standpoints about the Self.
2. Synthesize and evaluate the different scientific perspectives of Self.
3. Come up with a comprehensive definition of self according to scientific outlooks.
Diagnostics
 Learning Checkpoint
Do you AGREE or DISAGREE?

 Philosophy and Science share the same views about the Self.

 Science encompasses biological evolution of self.

 Science explains how environments and contexts shape the self.

 Science makes use of systematic methodologies in conceptualizing the self.

 The physical aspect of the self is the only scientific standpoint that matters.
The Science of the Self
Science has invested much of its efforts in understanding
world phenomena, but none more so than in explaining
how human beings have evolved from its basic life forms to
its more complex make-up today. Science has been lexically
defined as “the intellectual and practical activity
encompassing the systematic study of the structure and
behavior of the physical and natural world through
observation and experiment.” Thus, attempts to explain
Self have been made from the perspective of scientific
methods. Further, scientific approaches to the study of the
Self is of two-fold: physical sciences and social sciences. The
former focuses on biological factors that make up the
human body, the underlying growth and maturational
mechanisms of people, and environmental influences that
contribute to human development, central focus of which is
the Self. On the other hand, social sciences is concerned
with institutions, society, and interpersonal relationships of
people living within society.
Biological Science
Science has made sufficient advances in explaining human
beings in the biological context. Beginning with the tenets of
Aristotle and his scientific approach to the study of human
experience, to the Natural Selection within the Evolutionary
theory of Charles Darwin, human development,
individuality, and inevitably the Self, has been defined,
analyzed, and explained according to specific mechanisms.

The human body has been explained from a number of


scientific standpoints. From a biological perspective,
genetics has been studied extensively by scientists and
doctors on how genes from both parents contribute to the
characteristics of their offspring.

The study of the human body from a physical perspective


has paved the way for a fuller understanding of the self, as
consciousness, deemed to be a fundamental core of the self,
is influenced by inner dynamics and environments.
Biological Science
New breakthroughs in the understanding of the self has
resulted in the emergence of new scientific fields of study:
NEUROPHILOSOPHY and PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY.

NEUROPHILOSOPHY
The study of Neurophilosophy is attributed to Paul and
Patricia Churchland. Neurophilosophy is concerned with the
association of the brain and the mind; in order to
understand the workings of the human mind, we must first
understand the brain, its functions, and wave activity. They
further argued that philosophical notions of free will,
common sense, and conscientiousness, we must be able to
explain it in the context of neuroscience as advances in this
field seemingly converge with how people think, feel, and
behave. In the context of the self, our consciousness,
worldviews, beliefs, and other human attributes are
distinctly connected to our brain physiology and
functioning.
Biological Science
PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY
Psychoneuroimmunology draws its assumptions from how
our immune systems function, similar to the shaping of self.
Our body is made up of nucleotides, and its composition
make up our DNA. In the context of our immune system,
our human bodies “reject” foreign matter that can harm
our bodies and build up on the existing molecules, leading
to a healthy bodily system. However, there times when
foreign matter that enters our system can be helpful for our
bodily maintenance and thus, becomes a permanent fixture
within the body. In the context of the self, individuals
capitalize on their innate attributes and are likely to reject
environmental factors seen to be harmful to the body and
their well-being. In discovering our self, we are likely to
imbibe external experiences that are seen to be helpful to
us and reject those that we do not like or those we do not
derive pleasure from.
Social Sciences
Whereas physical science has devoted much
of its time to understanding the physical
nature of people, social science is concerned
with human functioning in the context of
society and social institutions. Psychology,
sociology, anthropology, politics, and
economics are some of the social sciences
that have contributed much to the study of
the Self.
Social Sciences
Psychology is one of the most popular social
sciences, defined as “the study of human behavior”. A
number of theoretical perspectives have been introduced
within this field of interest to explain the “self”.
Psychology has contributed a lot in the study of the self as
a theoretical construct. In fact, the development of the so
called Science of Self is significantly rooted from various
psychological theories and principles. In many
psychological theories (e.g., social and personality
psychology), the term self has been used as a predicate of
several psychological constructs (e.g., self-awareness, self-
construal, self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-regulation, etc.).
Such usages of the term indicate not only an acceptance
of its existence but also signify its importance in
characterizing human psychological and personal
attributes.
Social Sciences
Sociology is the study of collective
behavior of people within society and
focuses on social problems encountered
by people. It does not see the individual
on his own, but rather, how social
institutions and his social relationships
within society create an impact on his
thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It
provides tools for understanding human
experience and how society shapes the
person and vice versa.
Social Sciences
Anthropology is the “science of
human beings; especially the study of
human beings and their ancestors
through time and space and in relation
to physical character, environmental and
social relations, and culture.” In the
context of studying the self,
anthropology provides the lens of the
developmental advancements society
has made and how it has impacted
generations who existed within that
society.
Social Sciences
Political Science is concerned with
participation of individuals in establishing a
government and making political choices. It
is not about political affiliations but rather,
the factors involved in how one arrives at
his political choices and behavior. In
studying self, how an individual participates
in government, his ideologies and
advocacies, are significant contributors to
his selfhood.
Social Sciences
Economics is “concerned chiefly with
description and analysis of the production,
distribution, and consumption of goods and
services". Nature of goods, how we
manufacture them, how we share in its
consumption, our state of finances and
purchasing power, and its equitable
distribution to society shapes our self through
valuation of products and services that society
has to offer. Our economic activities have
shaped our value system, and sense of self.
Science of the Self Things to Ponder About
In this unit, we have outlined the impact of the sciences to our
self- discovery and self-understanding.

 Do our physical bodies define who we are?


 Do our societal identities change?
 To what extent does society shape our self and
identity?
Module 1. Introduction to Understanding the Self
Unit 2. What Philosophy Says About the Self
Module Assessment
Check your workbook:
• Exercise No. 1 . My DNA (Diversity, Nature-Nurture, and Anatomy (pgs. 24 – 26)
• Exercise No. 2. My RNA – Relations and Nature/Nurture Analysis (pgs. 27 – 28)

Assignment No. 2
Metacognitive Reading Report (pg. 29)
Readings:
• Blaisedell, A. (2009). A Biological Definition of Self.
• Golubović, Z. (2010). An Anthropological Conceptualisation of Identity.
• Gallagher, S. (2000). Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for
cognitive science.