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September 2021

Sorcery of the self - The magic of you

Author(s): Hallam, R. S.

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 2000; 10: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 238-264.

Abstract: In this article, we first examine current cognitive and social constructionist (SC) notions of self and we suggest that although 'self is central to both approaches, it is not satisfactorily defined by either because the discussion of self remains at an epistemological level. The lack of genuine definition leads to difficulties specifying the properties 'self possesses and to dilemmas about how to draw boundaries between public and private experience and explain that discourse is both personalized yet socially constructed. In the second part of the article, we examine phenomenological claims for an ontological position which transcends views of the self as a unit 'known about' and which grounds self-knowledge in Being. Being is revealed by projects in the world and does not distinguish a priori between subject and object. Such divisions are invoked by projects such as 'knowing the world' which require a temporal and spatial version of the world in order to come about. Projects are always in the process of coming about; therefore, self's defining quality is what it is about to become rather than what it is. Hence the finite self is an illusion; but a necessary one. We draw an analogy between the way the illusion of self is created and revealed through the project of 'knowing the self' and the way a conjuror, through his/her lead-up, convinces an audience to see what should be there. Only because sense of self is an illusion, we speculate, can it exert such a powerful sway over our lives.

Note: Article O'Connor KP, Univ Montreal, Ctr Rech Fernand Seguin, 7331 Hochelaga St, Montreal, PQ H1N 3V2, CANADA

Keyword(s): cognition; illusion; phenomenology; self; social constructionism; PSYCHOLOGY


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