Becoming Oneself

Welsch, Wolfgang (2002) Becoming Oneself. UNSPECIFIED.

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Let me start out by explaining a preliminary decision. "Becoming oneself" - on my understanding - does not mean "finding one's Self". I want to speak about a process and a development, not about the discovery or realization of something pregiven. And I refer strictly to the reflexive pronoun `self', not to the noun `the Self'. I do so for a simple reason: I mistrust the common philosophical substantivization of this pronoun, the step from the compounded `self' - as in `oneself' or `ourselves' - to the absolute noun `the Self'. (I could never write a book about The Sources of the Self.)

As you know, Wittgenstein considered many traditional problems of philosophy to stem from a misuse of language. "[...] philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday."(1) I suspect the problems of the Self are of this type.

Another philosopher who was very sensitive to language's problematic influence on our way of thinking - Nietzsche - was convinced that our conventional talk of the "I" too is merely due to conventional grammar, and is basically mistaken. He intended to liberate us from this "faith of governesses", as he called it, by demonstrating that `the I' is a construct rather than a premiss of our thinking, and that it is not a unitary, but a manifold thing.(2)

In ordinary language, `self' is a reflexive pronoun referring to persons who - in whatever sense - say "I". It means nothing more and nothing other than this reflexive deixis. I would like to suggest restricting the use of `self' to this reflexive usage - instead of substantivizing and mystifying it.(3)

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Subjektivität, Nietzsche,, Wittgenstein, Kant, Hölderlin, Transversalität
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Anthropologie
Depositing User: sandra subito
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2020 12:24

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