Research on the topic of self has increased significantly in recent years across a number of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, psychopathology, and neuroscience. The Oxford Handbook of the Self is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that address questions in all of these areas. In philosophy and some areas of cognitive science, the emphasis on embodied cognition has fostered a renewed interest in rethinking personal identity, mind-body
dualism, and overly Cartesian conceptions of self. Poststructuralist deconstructions of traditional metaphysical conceptions of subjectivity have led to debates about whether there are any grounds (moral if not metaphysical) for reconstructing the notion of self. Questions about whether selves actually exist or
have an illusory status have been raised from perspectives as diverse as neuroscience, Buddhism, and narrative theory. With respect to self-agency, similar questions arise in experimental psychology. In addition, advances in developmental psychology have pushed to the forefront questions about the ontogenetic origin of self-experience, while studies of psychopathology suggest that concepts like self and agency are central to explaining important aspects of pathological experience. These and
other issues motivate questions about how we understand, not only "the self", but also how we understand ourselves in social and cultural contexts.
Shaun Gallagher is Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences, and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Simulation and Training, at the University of Central Florida (USA); he has secondary research appointments at the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Copenhagen. He has been Visiting Scientist at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen, the Centre de Recherche en Epistemelogie Appliquee (CREA), Paris, and the Ecole Normale Superiure, Lyon.
1. SELF: BEGINNINGS AND BASICS; 2. BODILY SELVES; 3. PHENOMENOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS OF SELF; 4. PERSONAL IDENTITY, NARRATIVE IDENTITY, AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE; 5. ACTION AND THE MORAL DIMENSIONS OF SELF; 6. SELF PATHOLOGIES; 7. THE SELF IN DIVERSE CONTEXTS