Theories of the Self Term Paper by Nicky

A look at concepts of self in literature and political writings.
# 150312 | 3,159 words | 6 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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This paper traces the development of self in western civilization through various literary works and political and philosophical writings. First, the paper considers the idea of the self in general, and then moves into more specifics. Among the various approaches considered is the mind-body connection of self. This is examined in light of the outlooks of Descartes and Leibniz. Next, the paper address the self and the social contract of John Locke. Then, the paper changes gears and explores self from a literary viewpoint, analyzing Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." In particular, it notes the many aspect of the complex relationship between Victor and his creation. Next, the paper delves into self from the perspective of Olaudah Equiano, a freed slave, as expressed in his autobiography. The paper concludes by analyzing self from an economic outlook through the writings of Marx and Adam Smith, comparing and contrasting their opinions.


The Self and the Mind-Body Problem
The Self- the Social Contract and John Locke
The Self, Duality, and Ego in Frankenstein
Slavery, Freedom, and a Sense of Self for Olaudah Equiano
Alienation and the Inability to Self-Actualize for Marx
Modernism and Adam Smith: Self and the Wealth of Nations

From the Paper:

"The self and the mind-body problem: For instance, the self may or may not be connected to the body. The "mind-body problem" has been debated by a number of notable philosophers like Descartes and Leibniz. Both duelists, Descartes and Leibniz posited that the mind and body are separate entities. Descartes assumed that the mind and the body interact causally; the impulses or actions of one impact the impulses or reactions of the other. Although he was also a dualist regarding the mind-body problem, Leibniz suggested that the mind and body interact simultaneously. Monistic philosophers also range in their treatment of the mind-body problem. Materialists suppose that there is nothing beyond the physical, - that the mind is but an illusion. Identity theory proposes the idea that the brain is the actual origin of the mind. Practically the opposite of materialistic theories, idealism suggests that all matter is merely a construct of the mind. Finally, philosophers like Spinoza and Russell believed that a separate substance or quality transcended both body and mind. The nature of self is not limited to theories of mind versus body. The nature of self can also be constructed socially, in relation to other people.."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Equiano, O. (2007). The Life of Olaudah Equiano. Cosimo Classics.
  • Kolak, D. and G. Thompson. (2006). The Longman Standard History of Modern Philosophy. Longman.
  • Locke, J. (2002). The Second Treatise of Government. Dover.
  • Marx, K. and F. Engels. E. Hobsbawm, ed. (1998). The Community Manifesto.Verso.
  • Shelley, M. and J. Smith., ed. (2000). Frankenstein. Palgrave MacMillan.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Theories of the Self (2012, January 30) Retrieved February 06, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Theories of the Self" 30 January 2012. Web. 06 February. 2023. <>