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Anthony Rudd defends a series of interrelated claims about the nature of the self. He argues that the self is not simply a given entity, but a being that constitutes or shapes itself, guided by its own sense of the good. This means that there is an essentially ethical or evaluative dimension to selfhood, and one which has an essentially teleological character. Such self-constitution takes place in narrative terms, through one's telling--and, more importantly,living-one's own story. Rudd takes Kierkegaard's account of the self as his main inspiration, and argues (controversially) that this account belongs in the Platonic rather than the Aristotelian tradition of teleological thinking. He presents a convincing case for an ancient and currently unfashionable view: that the polarities and tensions that are constitutive of selfhood can only be reconciled through an orientation of the self as a whole to an objective Good.
Anthony Rudd is Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at St Olaf College, Minnesota. He is the author of Kierkegaard and the Limits of the Ethical (Oxford, 1993), Expressing the World: Skepticism, Wittgenstein and Heidegger (Open Court, 2003), as well as numerous articles. He is co-editor of Kierkegaard After MacIntyre (Open Court, 2001) with John Davenport.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction Part One 1. Self-Shaping and Self-Acceptance 2. The Teleological Self: Plato and Kierkegaard 3. Character Part Two Introduction to Part Two 4. Personhood, Self-Shaping, and the Good 5. Three Theories of Value: A Kierkegaardian Critique 6. Being for the Good Part Three Introduction to Part Three 7. Selfhood and Narrative 8. Narrative and Value 9. The Unconscious Self Bibliography Index