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Human Development/Consciousness Evolution ,Self; Evolution
Record Type: Review   ID: 845

The Looking Glass Self: An Examination of Self-Awareness

Canfield, John V.

 The author's aim in this book, starting from Wittgenstein, is "to clarify and defend the idea of the self as fiction" (p. 3). However, as he points out, it is possible to deny the self theoretically, yet be quite ego-involved in one's self. In the second part of the book therefore, Canfield develops a physical anthropology by exploring the contents of the "gut-level belief in self, and to set out the way or ways in which it is fictional" (p. 4). Here he elaborates in part on Mead and Cooley. His closing chapter adopts a Buddhist view of the self, which he takes to be "the liability, the error that blocks us from living in a wholesome, compassionate way. I try to show the possibility of a secular way of repairing that awesome mistake" (p. 21). Certainly this existence or not of a self is of great importance in any discussion of EHEs, for who has the exceptional human experience if there is no self? A place for EHEs might be found in a view of self as process.
Publisher Information:New York: Praeger, 1990. 243p. Bibl: 233-238; Chap. bibl; 1 fig; Index: 239-243
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