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PHIL 101 Philosophy

Published : 09-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10


Write about the  topic of "Nature of Self".


Self is the main construct in the field of psychology where cognitive and affective abilities of an individual are defined. Self is defined as the significant qualities that make a person unique from others. At present, the understanding of nature of self is momentous in that it can be used in psychology to have the deeper understanding of human motivation, cognition, affection and social identity (“The Nature of the Self", 2017). Philosophers agree that there are no positive attributes which are linked to the concept of self. The main work of philosophers is to bring into light the different qualities in self that makes people different. Consequently self is the catalyst that is responsible for actions and thoughts of an individual. It should also be noted that an individual’s actions vary in different times and situations which are also part of hidden self (Farber, 2006). The purpose of this paper is to examine the concept of nature of self critically.

Every individual has an obligation to understand oneself, however, there are numerous instances that people fail to understand oneself. This is not an isolated incidence, but it happens every day for different people especially those who face difficult situations. One of the ways to understand self is by conceiving it as a role that one plays in life. When one lives, there are a lot of responsibilities that one is coerced to assume, such as a student, a parent or a professional in any field. During the playing of these roles, there are decisions that are expected to be made from time to time. When one understands what role one plays it possible for one to understand self. When certain moral obligations arise, it is possible for one to understand oneself (Leung, 2000). If an individual has a particular life to live, then it is expected that one would do anything, as a basic responsibility towards that life.

An individual can observe and understand that one’s body and mind keeps on growing and advancing as one ages. Moreover, the self-inside the body always remains the same. This implies that self is a state that we would like to see about oneself, it is intangible and it is felt by faith. With this in mind, it is seen that the changeless self is a kind of an observer for the changing physical body. This means that as an observer, self can never be the same as what it witnesses, the body (Cobben, 2009). The changeless self which is transcendental by nature is henceforth not the body but the mind.  

There is a belief that most people have, that there is a sort of continuing self. A field of consciousness that persists from one’s birth till death. While this persistent self is believed to shed or lapses during sleep, it is believed to rise after one wakes up. As much as there is no rational basis for such belief, it is believed that when one wakes up, there is a different self-conscious different from that one that was present before one retired for sleep. However, it is imperative to understand that when self wakes up from sleep, it can extract memories from one’s brain. This means that the unchanging self has experienced the events of one’s memory hence it is the same self that inhabited the body prior the lapse in consciousness.

Self-esteem is in tandem with one believe of self. Every individual is a victim of issues regarding the appraisal of oneself. Each person has a way of evaluating one self-worth on how people treat them. Self-esteem comprises believes and emotions that regard triumph and despair (McKay, 2009). This is where an individual regard oneself as competent or incompetent. Self-esteem can apply to a particular dimension where a person attributes shame or pride in a particular event. Case in point, an individual, can conclude that one is good or not good as the writing.

According to Calkins, (1908), self has various characteristics such as mental experience. This means that the ambiguity of our mental experience is the most important existence of self which is not just an array of ideas. Self is the second characteristic of nature of self where self is inclusive in addition to persistent. This implies that self is an inclusion of complex of ideas, experiences, and functions. This character of self, assist individuals to have and hold onto their psychological thought. Uniqueness is the third momentous character of self. It is an open secret that people are different due to nature of self. The uniqueness occurs in the difference of people’s emotions and their consciousness. Besides, the differences in emotions and actions of people that make people different are as a result of different experiences. The fourth characteristic of nature of self is relatedness. This implies that there is a possibility that self is related to other people’s self who may not be necessarily related by blood.  Different people have same ideas and thoughts about different situations thus making self not a one man’s show.

In spirituality, a human being is always seen as an individual who is self-reliant and treats oneself as a spate entity from other aspects of creation. The sense of doer-ship is the ultimate sense that integrates into oneself. This implies that a human being has the sense of fighting for a place in this world. A human being is unaware of the surrounding true nature (Peter Ralston, 2010). The ego is always in tandem with the mind intertwined together with time so as to convince the mind that the future of a human being is assured rather than knowing oneself and the present.  In efforts to have people acknowledging oneself and the present spirituality tries to dissolve the ego (Krishnananda, 2017). With the advent of spirituality, individuals are now able to have self-knowledge and being able to identify themselves with the present world.

In closing, self is in a close relationship with the body however, the difference in the biological composition of different people together with varying experiences is what makes the self-unique so as to be distinguishable.  


The Nature of the Self. (2017). Retrieved 6 April 2017, from

Calkins, M. (1908). Psychology as Science of Self: II. The Nature of the Self. The Journal Of Philosophy, Psychology And Scientific Methods, 5(3), 65-66.

Cobben, P. (2009). The nature of the self (1st ed.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Farber, B. (2006). Self-disclosure in Psychotherapy (1st ed., p. 3). Guilford Press.

Krishnananda, S. (2017). The Nature of the Self - The Philosophy of Religion - Chapter 6. Retrieved 6 April 2017, from http://www.swami-

Leung, S. (2000). Nature of the Self: A Philosophy on Human Nature (1st ed., p. 11). Janus Publishing Company Lim.

McKay, M. (2009). Self-esteem: Easyread Edition (3rd ed., p. 1).

Peter Ralston, P. (2010). The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness (1st ed., p. 35). North Atlantic Books.

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