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Proving himself an exceptional interdisciplinarian, Seigel distills an enormous range of thinking while providing a clear and incisive commentary on these and many other key thinkers.

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Beyond its analytical utility, however, the grid implies the robust theoretical conclusion that the self resists reduction to any single element—such as reflection, instinct, sympathy, social construction, or [End Page ] language—as some theorists have sometimes perhaps hyperbolically suggested.

If not a finished theory of the self, Idea establishes the elements for which an adequate theory of the self must be accountable. The result is a multilayered, intertextual genealogy of a central modern theme.


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Thus, commerce cultivates civic virtues. But as Seigel shows, Smith was no business-class cheerleader, having had few illusions about the limits of market discipline.

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The chapters on the German idealists are especially useful for those seeking from Kant more than his epistemology in its essentials. Examining the development of idealism through Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and Heidegger, Seigel illuminates a philosophical legacy whose repercussions reached from modern aesthetics to modern theology.

The Idea of the Self by Jerrold Seigel

Seigel approaches Foucault through such lesser-known influences as Bataille and Roussel, revealing personal concerns with selfhood and death that are less obvious in the influential but abstract theoretical studies. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.

View freely available titles: What is the self? Jerrold Seigel combines theoretical and contextual approaches to explore the ways key figures have understood whether and how far individuals can achieve coherence and consistency in the face of inner tensions and external pressures.

The Idea of the Self

Clarifying that recent "post-modernist" accounts belong firmly to the tradition of Western thinking they have sought to supercede, Seigel provides a persuasive alternative to claims that the modern self is typically egocentric or disengaged. France from Old Regime to Restoration.


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Part V Modern visions and illusions. Thought and Experience in Western Europe since the