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U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E S E L F :

INTRODUCTION

GECC 108 -- UNDERSTANDING THE SELF


1 ST SEMESTER, SY 2019-2020
HNABAYOGAN
• “Life is a journey, and every person is a traveler.” – Homo Viator
 begins at birth and ends at death
 questions about life and one’s own reality
 John Ruskin’s questions in life:
1. identity: Who am I?
2. origin: Where does man come from?
3. destiny: Does man’s life have purpose? What happen after
man’s existence?
WHERE DO WE START UNDERSTANDING
THE SELF?
• simple probing by providing answers to the questions
about life

• The knowledge of our origin, identity, and destiny bestows


us a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
• Is it possible to come up with a single definite concept of
the self?
• THREE APPROACHES:
– theological approach
– philosophical approach
– scientific approach
PHILOSOPHICAL
PERSPECTIVES OF THE
SELF
LEARNING OUTCOMES
• distinguish the different philosophers and philosophies
about the self
• formulate one’s own philosophy
PHILOSOPHY
“philo” love
“sophia” wisdom

pursuit of wisdom

a human search for the meaning


of life
SOCRATES
• first thinker in Western history to focus the full power of
reason on the human self:
– who we are,
– who we should be, and
– who we will become
SOCRATES
• was convinced that:
– physical body
– immortal soul
• arrives beyond the death of the body

• REALITY is DUALISTIC, made up of dichotomous realms:


– physical world
– ideal form
SOCRATES
• dichotomous realms:
– physical world
• changeable, transient, imperfect
• all that we can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel
– ideal form
• unchanging, eternal, immortal
• includes the intellectual essences of the universe, concepts such
as TRUTH, GOODNESS, and BEAUTY
– could be found in the physical world like “you might be described
as truthful, good, or beautiful” but these are always IMPERFECT and
LIMITED
SOCRATES
• Bodies – belong to the physical realm
– change, imperfect, die
• Souls – belong to the ideal realm
– unchanging and immortal, surviving the death of the body
– strives for WISDOM and PERFECTION
SOCRATES
• REASON is the soul’s tool to achieve the exalted stage
– enables the soul to free itself from the corrupting
imperfection of the physical realm and achieve
“communion with the unchanging”
SOCRATES
PLATO
• ancient Greek philosopher of extraordinary significance in
the history of ideas
• his concept of the soul (Greek word is psyche) is a three-
part soul/self constituted by the:
– reason/ rational soul
– physical appetite/ appetitive soul
– spiritual or passion/ spirited soul
PLATO
• reason/ rational soul
– our divine essence that enables us to think deeply, make
wise choices and achieve a true understanding of eternal
truths
PLATO
• physical appetite/ appetitive soul
– our biological needs such as hunger, thirst, and sexual
desire

• spiritual or passion/ spirited soul


– our basic emotions such as love, anger, ambition,
aggressiveness, emphathy
PLATO
• the three elements could be in concert and in bitter
conflict
– when conflict occurs, Plato believes it is the responsibility of
our REASON to sort things out and exert control,
reestablishing a harmonious relationship among the three
elements of ourselves
• SOUL is likened to a CHARIOT drawn by 2 powerful
winged horses
– a NOBLE horse
• represents spirit
– a WILD horse
• embodying appetite
• charioteer is REASON whose task is to guide the chariot
to the eternal realm by controlling the two independent-
minded horses
– successful: two steeds work together in harmonious unity
achieve true wisdom and banquet with the gods

– unsuccessful: unable to control their horses and keep their


chariot on track – experience personal, intellectual and
spiritual failure
PLATO
ST. AUGUSTINE
• Christian Philosopher and Bishop of Hippo in North
Africa
• integrated the philosophical concepts of Plato with the tenets of
Christianity
ST. AUGUSTINE
• adopted Plato’s vision of bifurcated universe, in which there
are 2 realms:
– intelligible realm
• truth dwells
– sensible realm
• perceived by sight and touch
ST. AUGUSTINE
• transcendent God – Plato’s ultimate reality, the eternal
realm

• immortal souls striving to achieve union with God through


faith and reason – to Plato, immortal souls striving to
achieve union with this eternal realm through intellectual
enlightenment
ST. AUGUSTINE
• believes that the physical body was both radically different
from and inferior to its inhabitants, the immortal soul

• body as the SPOUSE of the SOUL, with both attached to


one another by a “NATURAL APPETITE”

• body is united with the soul


ST. AUGUSTINE
• What happens to the soul when the body dies?
RENÉ DESCARTES
• French Philosopher; rationalist
• father of Western philosophy
• idea on self is centered on the concept of SUBSTANCE
– refers to anything that exists in itself
• infinite
– abstract that refers to the innate idea of God
• finite
– man
RENÉ DESCARTES
• man is a finite substance composed of 2 independent
substances known as the CARTESIAN DUALISM: body and
mind
– body is independent of the soul
• material, mortal, non-thinking substance
• governed by the completely mechanical laws

– mind
RENÉ DESCARTES
• CARTESIAN DUALISM: body and mind
– mind
• nonmaterial, immortal, conscious being
• independent of the physical laws of the universe
RENÉ DESCARTES
• more concerned with the understanding the THINKING
PROCESS

• agreed with great thinkers before him that the human ability to
REASON constitutes the extraordinary instrument we have to
ACHIEVE TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE
RENÉ DESCARTES
• we need to be CLEAR about the THINKING
INSTRUMENT we are employing  THINKING is flawed,
then it is likely that our conclusions will be flawed

• genuine knowledge needs to be based on INDEPENDENT


RATIONAL INQUIRY and REAL-WORLD
EXPERIMENTATION
RENÉ DESCARTES
• Cogito, ergo sum – “I think, therefore I am.”
• being aware of our selves  being self-conscious
• THINKING – an attribute of the soul
• a thinking thing – a dynamic entity that engages in all of
those mental operations we associate with being a human
self, like:
– understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, imagines,
perceives
RENÉ DESCARTES
• declares that the:
– essential self – the self as THINKING ENTITY – conscious
being, independent of the physical laws of the universe

– physical body – a MATERIAL, MORTAL, NONTHINKING


ENTITY, fully governed by the physical laws of nature
RENÉ DESCARTES
• soul and body are independent of one another and each
can exist and function without the other

• dualistic view of reality, bifurcated into:


– a spiritual, nonmaterial, immortal realm that includes
conscious, thinking beings
• conscious self (mind, soul) is a part of the spiritual realm,
independent of the physical laws of the universe, governed
only by laws of reason and God’s will
RENÉ DESCARTES
• dualistic view of reality, bifurcated into:
– a physical, material, finite realm that includes human bodies
and the rest of the physical universe
• physical self is part of nature, governed by the physical laws
of the universe, and available to scientific analysis and
experimentation

• body is always divisible; mind is entirely indivisible