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Socrates was known for his method of inquiry in testing an idea.

This is called Socratic Method whereby an idea was tested by
asking a series of questions to determine underlying belief and the
extent of knowledge to guide the person toward better
understanding. At 70 years old, Socrates was sentenced to death
by drinking a cup of poison hemlock.

• The soul is immortal

• The care of the soul is the task of philosophy
• Virtue is necessary to attain happiness

According to him, self-knowledge or the examination of one’s self

as well as the question about how one ought to live one’s life are
very important concerns because only by knowing yourself can
you hope to improve your life.

Socrates believed that you as a person should consciously

contemplate, turn your gaze inward and analyze the true nature
and values that are guiding your life.
He added, self-knowledge would open your eyes to your true
nature, which contrary to pop culture, is not about what you
own, how many “likes” you get in your social media posts or
how successful you are in your career. In fact, yourself is not
even your body.
According to Socrates, the state of your inner (soul/self)
determines the quality of your life.

Visible existence changes while the invisible remains constant.

The body which is visible, changes; the other part, the kind that
is invisible to humans yet sensed and understood by the mind,
remains constant.
In the Socratic Dialogue, Plato wrote what Socrates said
about the body the soul. “When the soul and the body are
together, nature assigns the body to be a slave and to be
ruled and the soul to be the ruler and master.” However,
Socrates said that the body was a reluctant slave and the
soul gets dragged toward what is always changing. This
would leave the soul confused.
Socrates also believed that the goal of life is to be happy. How
does one become happy? According to him, the virtuous man is a
happy man and that virtue alone is the one and only supreme
good that will secure one’s happiness. Virtue is defined as moral
excellence and an individual is considered virtuous if his/her
character is made up the moral qualities that are accepted as
virtues (i.e. courage, temperance, prudence, and justice).
According to Socrates, even death is a trivial matter for the
truly virtuous because he/she has realized that the most
important thing in life is the state of his/her soul and the acts
taken from taking care of the soul through self-knowledge.

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good

actions in others.”
Plato was a student of Socrates and wrote the Socratic
Dialogue where Socrates was the main character and
speaker. Plato is best known for his Theory of Forms that
asserted that the physical world is not really the real world
because the ultimate reality exists beyond the physical world.
Plato is perhaps the single most important influences of the
Western concept of self. According to Plato, the soul is
indeed the most divine aspect of the human being. However,
his concept of the divine is not a spiritual being but rather one
that has an intellectual connotation. The self/ soul/mind
according to Plato is the aspect of the human beings by
which the Forms (ideas) are known:

• The appetitive (sensual) – the element that enjoys sensual

experiences such as food, drink and sex
• The rational (reasoning) – the element that forbids the person to enjoy
the sensual experiences; the part that loves truth, hence should rule
over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason
• The spirited (feeling) – the element that is inclined toward reason but
understands the demands of passion; the part that loves honor and
Deeply influenced by Plato’s ideas, he adopted Plato’s view that the self
is an immaterial (but rational) soul. Giving the Theory of Forms a
Christian perspective, Augustine asserted that these Forms were
perfect concepts existing within the perfect and eternal God where the
soul belonged. He held that the Soul held the Truth and was capable of
scientific thinking. His concept of the self was an inner, immaterial “Ï”
that had self-knowledge and self-awareness. He believed that the
human being was both a soul and body, and the body possessed
senses, such as imagination, memory, reason, and mind through which
the soul experienced the world.

• It is able to be aware of itself

• It recognizes itself as a holistic one
• It is aware of its unity
St. Augustine believed that the human being who is both soul
and body is meant to tend to higher, divine, and heavenly
matters because of his/her capacity to ascent and
comprehend truth through the mind. He also pointed out that
a person is similar to God as regards to the mind and its
ability; that by ignoring to use his/her mind (or the incorrect
use of the mind) he/she would lose his/her possibility to reach
real and lasting happiness.

Considered the father of modern Western philosophy. He is

often regarded as the first thinker to emphasize the use of
reason to describe, predict, and understand natural
phenomena based on observational and empirical evidence.
He proposed that doubt was a principal tool of disciplined
inquiry. His method was called hyperbolical/metaphysical
doubt, also sometimes referred to as methodological
skepticism. It is a systematic process of being skeptical
about the truth of one’s beliefs in order to determine which
beliefs could be ascertained as true.
His famous line “cogito ergo sum” translated as Ï think,
therefore, I am became a fundamental element of Western
philosophy as it secured the foundation for knowledge in the
face of radical doubt. He asserted that everything perceived by
the senses could not be used as proof of existence because
human senses could be fooled. He added that there was only
one thing we could be sure of in this world, and that was
everything could be doubted. In turn, by doubting his own
existence, Descartes proved that there is a thinking entity that is
doing the act of doubting.

• It is constant, it is not prone to change and it is not affected by time

• Only the immaterial soul remains the same throughout time
• The immaterial soul is the source of our identity.
• The thinking entity could exist without the body because it is an
immaterial substance. Nevertheless, this immaterial substance (self)
possesses a body and is so intimately bound /joined by it that the self
forms a union with its body. Despite this union, Descartes reasoned
that the soul is distinct from the body.
It is a conscious thinking substance that It is a material substance
is unaffected by time that changes through time

It is only known to itself (only you know It can be doubted; the public
your own mental event and others cannot can correct claims about the
correct your mental states) body
It is not made up of any parts. It views It is made up of physical,
the entirety of itself with no hidden or quantifiable, divisible parts.
separate compartments. It is both
conscious and aware of itself at the
same time.
1. Be skeptical. Keep an open mind
2. Insist on evidence
3. Examine definition of terms
4. Examine the assumptions or premises of argument
5. Be cautious in drawing conclusions from evidence
6. Consider alternative interpretations of research evidence
7. Do not oversimplify
8. Do not overgeneralize
9. Apply critical thinking to all areas of life
• One of the most influential Enlightenment/Age of Reason thinkers
(18th century).
• If Descartes described the “self” as a thinking thing, Locke expanded
this definition of self to include the memories of that thinking thing. He
believed that the self is identified with consciousness and this self
consists of sameness of consciousness. This is usually interpreted to
mean that the self consists of memory; that the person existing now is
the same person yesterday because he/she remembers the thoughts,
experiences or actions of the earlier self.
For Locke, a person’s memories provided a continuity of
experience that allows him to identify her as the same person over
time. This theory of personal identity allows Locke to justify a
defense of accountability. According to him, since the person is
the same “self” in the passing of time, he/he can be held
accountable for past behaviors. However, he insisted that a
person could only be held accountable for behavior he/she can
• Empiricism is the idea that the origin of all knowledge is sense experience.
It emphasized the role of experience and evidence in forming concepts,
while discounting the notion of innate ideas.
• Hume is identified with the bundle theory wherein he described the self or
the person (which Hume assumed to be in the mind) as a bundle or
collection of different perceptions that are moving in a very fast and
successive manner, therefore, it is in a state of “perpetual flux.”
• Empiricistslike Hume, believed that human intellect and experiences are
limited; therefore, it is impossible to attribute it to an independent
persistent entity (i.e. soul). He concluded that the self is merely made up
of successive impressions.

1. Impressions – perceptions that are most strong. They enter the sense
with most force. These are directly experienced

2. Ideas – these are the less forcible and less lively counterparts of
impressions. These are mechanisms that copy and reproduce sense
data formulated based upon the previously perceived impressions.
Hume compared the self to a nation; whereby a nation
retains its being a nation not by some single core or identity
but by being composed of different, constantly changing
elements, such as people, systems, cultures, and beliefs. In
the same manner, the self, according to Hume, is not just one
impression but a mix and a loose cohesion of various
personal experiences. Hume insisted that that there is no
one constant impression that endures throughout one’s life.

Kant’s view of the self is transcendental, which means the “self” is

related to a spiritual or nonphysical realm. For him, the self is not in the
body. The self is outside the body and it does not have the qualities of
the body. Despite being transcendental, Kant stressed that the body
and its qualities are rooted to the self. He proposed that it is
knowledge that bridges the self and the material things together.
1. Consciousness of oneself and one’s psychological states in the inner
2. Consciousness of oneself and one’s states by performing acts of

Apperception is the mental process by which a person makes sense of an

idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses.
1. Inner self – the self you are aware of alterations in your own
state. This includes rational intellect and psychological
states, such as moods, feelings, and sensations, pleasure
and pain.
2. Outer self – it includes senses and the physical world. It is
the common boundary between the external world and the
inner self. It gathers information from the external world
through the senses which the inner self interprets.

His most important contribution especially in the field of

Psychology, was psychoanalysis, a clinical practice devised
to treat mental and psychological disorders through dialogue.
The vast majority of European philosophers before Freud
regarded human being as having an “essence” to which the
self/soul is ascribed. The self was an entity in itself
characterized as the subject (the focal point), the topic and
doer of the action) of the physical and mental actions and
experience. The notion is that the self is essence and subject
points to the idea of an entity that is unified, single, undivided,
and unaffected by time.
• Freud, however, did not accept the existence of any single
entity that could put forward as the notion of self. His work
in the field of psychoanalysis was groundbreaking because
it answered questions about the human psyche in a way
that no one else had before him. In psychology, the psyche
is the totality of the human mind, both conscious and
1. Conscious – deals with awareness of present perceptions, feelings,
thoughts, memories and fantasies at any particular moment.
2. Pre-conscious – related to data that can readily be brought to
3. Unconscious – refers to data retained but not easily available to the
individual’s conscious awareness or scrutiny.
Central to Freud’s theory was the proposed existence of the
unconscious as:

1. Repository for traumatic repressed memories and

2. The source of anxiety-provoking drives that is socially or
ethically unacceptable to the individual and society.

1. Id. Operates on pleasure principle that every wishful impulse should be

satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences.
2. Ego. Operates according to reality principle. It works out realistic ways
of satisfying the id’s demands (often compromising or postponing
satisfaction to avoid negative consequences). If the ego fails to use the
reality principle, anxiety is experienced and unconscious defense
mechanisms are employed.
3. Superego. Operates on moral principle as it incorporates the values
and morals of society and controls the id’s impulses through conscience
and ego-ideal.

His philosophy stands on a materialistic view or the belief that nothing

but matter exists. In other words, if something can be seen, felt, heard,
touched, or tasted, then it exists. There is nothing beyond the sensory
Thus, in Churchland’s view, the immaterial, unchanging soul/self does
not exist because it cannot be experienced by the senses.

The body is the primary site of knowing the world.

The self is an embodied subjectivity. The term embodied is a verb that
means to give a body to (usually an immaterial substance like a soul).
Subjectivity, in philosophy, is the state of being a subject – an entity that
possesses conscious experiences, such as perspectives, feelings, beliefs,
and desires. Moreover, the subject acts upon or affects some other entity,
which in philosophy is called an object. A subject, therefore, is something
that exists, can take action, and can cause real effects (on an object).
He added that the body is not a mere house where the mind resides.
Rather it is through the lived experience of the body that you perceive, are
informed, and interact with the world.

Merleau-Ponty argued that the body is part of the mind, and the mind is
part of the body; that although there could be a stand-alone mental faculty
that perceives the senses experience, it needs the body to receive these
experiences, act on its perceptions and communicate with the external
world. The body acts what the mind perceives as a unified one.

• Sociologists are concerned with questions about the person

in the community. They ask questions, like: “how does
society influence you?”

• Sociologist George Simmel expressed that people create

social networks by joining social groups. An example of
social group is your family, your classmates.

• Social network refers to the ties or connections that link you

to your social group.

• George Herbert Mead believed that the self is a product of

social interactions and internalizing the external views along
with one’s personal view about oneself. Mead believed that
the self is not present at birth; rather it develops over time
through social experiences and activities.
• Anthropology is the study of people, past, and present.
• Katherine Ewing (1990) described the self as encompassing the
“physical organism, possessing psychological functioning and social
Two aspects of the Self
1. Implicit is an aspect of the self that you are consciously aware of.
2. Explicit is an aspect of the self that is not immediately available to
the consciousness.

• Relationships. Culture influences how you enter into and maintain

relationships. For example, relationships may be seen as voluntary
or as duty based. It is essential for a person to choose whom to
marry while some Eastern societies still practice arranged marriage.
• Personality traits. Culture influences whether your value traits, like
humility, self-esteem, politeness, assertiveness, and so on, as well
as how you perceive hardship or how you feel about relying on
• Achievement.Culture influences how you define success
and whether you value certain types of individual and group

• Expressing emotions. Culture influences what will affect you

emotionally as well as how you express yourself, such as
showing your feelings in public or keeping it private.
Theory of Cognitive Development (Jean Piaget)

• Piaget (1952) observed how children processed and made

sense of the world around them and eventually developed a
four-stage model of how the mind processes new information
Three basic components to Piaget’s cognitive theory

1. Schemas. Schemes are mental organizations that individuals use to

understand their environments and designate action.
2. Adaptation. It involves the child’s learning processes to meet
situational demands.
3. Stages of Cognitive Development. They reflect the increasing
sophistication of the child’s thought process.
1. Sensorimotor (0-2). The child learns by doing: looking, touching, sucking
the child also has a primitive understanding of cause-and-effect relationship
2. Preoperational (2-7). The child uses language and symbols, including letters
and numbers. Egocentrism is also evident. Conservation marks the end of
the preoperational stage.
3. Concrete operations (7-12). The child demonstrates conservation,
reversibility, serial ordering, and a mature understanding of cause-and-effect
relationship. Thinking at this stage is still concrete.
4. Formal Operations. The individual demonstrates abstract thinking. At this
stage, thinking is formal.

• Dr. Susan Harter (1999) detailed the emergence of self-concept and asserted that the
broad developmental changes are observed across early childhood to emerging
1. Early childhood. The child describes the self in terms of concrete, observable
characteristics, such as physical attributes, material possessions, behaviors, and
2. Middle childhood. The self is described in terms of traitlike constructs (e.g., smart,
honest, friendly, shy).
3. Adolescence. The emergence of more abstract self-definitions, such
as inner thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and motives. Example, What
I am as a person? I am sensitive, friendly, outgoing, popular, and
tolerant though I can be shy, and self-conscious.

4. Emerging adults. Having a vision of a “possible self.” It is the age of

1. A sense of being the agent or initiator of behavior. “ believe my
actions have an impact.”
2. A sense of being unique. “This is how I am different from
everything in my environment.”
3. A sense of continuity. “I am the same person from day to day.”
4. A sense of awareness. “I understand what is going on in me and
around me.”
1. Parent ego state. This is the voice of authority. It could be a comforting
“nurturing parent” or a controlling/critical parent that tells what you should or
should not do.
2. The Adult ego state. This is the rational person. It is the voice that speaks
reasonably and knows how to assert himself or herself
3. The Child ego state. First is the natural child who loves to play but is sensitive
and vulnerable. The little professor is the curious child who wants to try
everything. The adaptive child is the one who reacts to the world. He could be
trying to fit in or is rebelling authority.