By Stephen Mulhall
Stephen Mulhall offers a sequence of multiply interrelated essays which jointly make up an unique examine of selfhood (subjectivity or own identity). He explores a number of articulations (in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the humanities) of the concept selfhood is better conceived as an issue of non-self-identity--for instance, as changing into or self-overcoming, or as being what one isn't really and never being what one is, or as being doubled or divided. Philosophically, a sustained studying of the paintings of Nietzsche and Sartre is relevant to this venture, even though Wittgenstein can also be primary to its issues; Mulhall consequently attracts greatly on texts often linked to 'Continental' philosophical traditions, essentially so one can attempt the feasibility of a non-elitist type of ethical perfectionism. in the arts, numerous essays study numerous movies whose subject matters intersect with these of the philosophers below examine (including Hollywood melodramas, contemporary secret agent videos corresponding to the Bourne trilogy and the most recent incarnation of James Bond, and David Fincher's 'Benjamin Button'); Wagner's Ring cycle is a recurrent drawback; and the novels of Kingsley Amis, J. M. Coetzee and David Foster Wallace also are well-liked.
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Additional resources for The Self and its Shadows: A Book of Essays on Individuality as Negation in Philosophy and the Arts
The underlying moral would seem to be that, for anyone possessed of the capacity to speak, and so to tell one thing from another, the responsibility to keep on making determinations of signiﬁcance will never come to an end. And if this is true of our sense of the signiﬁcance of other persons (of which characterizations go to the essence of their identity and which are, or have proven to be, of merely incidental relevance), why should we think that matters are any different with respect to our sense of ourselves?
Likewise, would the possibility that Yahweh shares many characteristics with Aten do serious damage to our believer’s sense of the distinctive nature of the God whose activity picked out the Israelites amongst all human tribes for the renewal of his covenant? Or would something akin to Simone Weil’s interpretative strategy in her Intimations of Christianity among the Greeks be an acceptable way of accommodating such family resemblances? There seems to be more or less easily imaginable room for either reaction to these particular Freudian claims to be made out, and so for the issue to appear as a matter over which two members of this religious tradition might 30 EXEMPLARS OF IDENTITY reasonably disagree.
It is as if Siegmund and Siegfried are momentary concrete particulars moulded from that underlying substance, each a distinct realization of one and the same stuff, hence each identical to and distinct from the other. And just as Siegfried’s identity is not graspable except as a reincarnation of his father, so it is not graspable as essentially distinct from his sister Sieglinde, or his father’s father, or from Brunnhilde––no more than he experiences it as separable from that of his (father’s, and so of course his father’s father’s) 4 It is, however, worth noting that this patrilineal continuity is mediated by women, more speciﬁcally by sisters who are also lovers: it is Sieglinde who christens Siegmund, as Brunnhilde prophetically calls Siegfried into existence, even if both thereby further their father’s wishes; and one might argue that the ultimate purpose of this lyric drama of intergenerational destiny is that one of those women should acquire apocalyptic wisdom.
The Self and its Shadows: A Book of Essays on Individuality as Negation in Philosophy and the Arts by Stephen Mulhall