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Bicol University

College of Education
Daraga, Albay
A.Y. 2018


Submitted by:

John Paul L. Esplana

BSED 1- Mathematics

Submitted to:

Prof. Joselynn M. Niñofranco

Subject Teachers
Write the things you understand about the perceptions of philosophers regarding “self”


With his famous utterance, “Know Thyself”, he explains that “the unexamined life is not
worth living”. Thus, he implies that to find yourself, think for yourself. He made me thought that
in life, one can’t be living without the knowledge of his/her existence. One seeks to know thyself
whenever/wherever they are, and a person who knows nothing about himself/herself lives in
distress. For we live unknowingly, without noticing what we are and what we want, we live for


According to Plato, “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories”,
specifying the idea of Socrates, his words struck me to say that, before becoming a victor in any
fights or competitions, we already won the fight in life as we know ourselves. Moreover, if one
decides to know himself/herself, it is the most happiest and impressive record of his/her life among
the things that he/she achieved.


The self is a thinking thing, distinct from the body, with his cognito ergo sum, “I think,
therefore I am”, as I read about what he says, I noticed that he believes that people are body, and
what they think is who they are or what their self is. He separates body and mind, if one is thinking,
therefore he/she has a “self” in that body. Therefore, I think, he is implying that “self” is how,
what, and/or why we think and that is separated from the body. Unlike from the previous two that
believes we are knowing ourselves, Descartes believes more that we, as a thinking body, is the
“self” itself.

Mikhail Bakhtin

Base from his quotation, “we need others in order to evaluate our own existence and
construct a coherent self-image”. He believes that our “self” is made through our interaction with
others. What people think, what they want you to do, what they do unto you, is what makes
yourself. Hence, we can’t be who we are without others, as what he implies. I think somehow, his
statement is neither correct nor wrong, for what I believe is, others are factors that affects
ourselves, they either makes who you are (aided self), or completes yourself as a “consistent” self
(unchangeable self).


Augustine agrees that man is a bifurcated nature. He views human person as a reflecting
the entire spirit. He believes that body could die, but the mind or soul could live eternally.
Somehow, his ideas were connected with Plato and Socrates. All of them believes that “the self is
an immortal soul that lives over time”. Therefore, I think “self” for Augustine means our soul that
lives eternally, and that is connected with the divine and lives in the spiritual world. He also thinks
that one is capable of reaching immortality, although the body itself ages and dies.

Thomas Aquinas

According to him, man is composed of two parts, the matter and form. Matter refers to the
“common stuff that makes up everything in the universe” and man’s body is part of it. While, Form
refers to the “essence of a substance or a thing”. It is what makes it what it is. In that case, he
implies that the body could be from other organisms, however, what makes a human a person and
not an animal, is his soul, his essence. From his statement, I understood that though there are many
organisms in our world, we are different for what form we have. Unlike other organisms, we have
soul and our essence are different in this life. Thus, he impacted me to believe that our “self” is
determined depending in our essence, and that “self” is differ from an organism for although they
have a soul, they couldn’t be a person for who and what they are.

David Hume

Hume believes that, “self is nothing else but a bundle of impressions”. Somehow, his idea
is interconnected with Mikhail’s that implies “person is a person through other person (umunto
ngumunto ngabanto)”. Like from the other philosopher, he made me also think that what makes
ourselves, are the impression of others upon us. However, I think, what he implies is that, the
identification of ourselves, is based on the impression of others. In comparison, Mikhail thinks
that we are made through others. So, his point made me thought that, knowing myself is by
knowing what others think about myself.

Immanuel Kant

The self is a unifying subject, an organizing consciousness that makes intelligible

experience possible and a complex of appearances whose existence and connection occur only in
our representations, as he said. He believes that we have what he so-called inner and outer sense.
Implying his thought, he says, “Bodies are objects of outer sense” while, “Souls are objects of
inner sense”. I think his thought implies that, in the outer sense, it is our consciousness of oneself,
and that the inner sense refers to one’s psychological states.

Gilbert Ryle

Ryle’s definition of self says “the self is the way people behave”. He believes that, how we
act, how we interact and blend in the society is our “self” itself. Similar with Hume’s, our self is
defined by the impressions. However, Ryle’s says that it is how we behave, therefore, it could just
be how we think we behave or how others think we behave.


Merleau-Ponty developed the concept of the body-subject (le corps propre) he believes
that the self is embodied subjectivity. From what I understand, he sees “self” as how we
experiences things in our mind. If we experienced something, therefore it adds up to the completion
of our self, and as we venture, we develop ourselves.
Self as a Product of Society
A sociological approach to self and identity begins with the assumption that there is a
reciprocal relationship between the self and society (Stryker, 1980). The self influences society
through the actions of individuals thereby creating groups, organizations, networks, and
institutions. And, reciprocally, society influences the self through its shared language and
meanings that enable a person to take the role of the other, engage in social interaction, and reflect
upon oneself as an object. The latter process of reflexivity constitutes the core of selfhood (McCall
& Simmons, 1978; Mead, 1934). Because the self emerges in and is reflective of society, the
sociological approach to understanding the self and its parts (identities) means that we must also
understand the society in which the self is acting, and keep in mind that the self is always acting
in a social context in which other selves exist (Stryker, 1980). This chapter focuses primarily on
the nature of self and identity from a sociological perspective, thus some discussion of society is
warranted. The nature of the self and what individuals do depends to a large extent on the society
within which they live.
George Herbert Mead, a sociologist from the late 1800s, is well known for his theory of
the social self, which includes the concepts of 'self,' 'me,' and 'I.' In this lesson, we will explore
Mead's theory and gain a better understanding of what is meant by the terms 'me' and 'I.' We will
also discuss the concept, derived out of Mead's work, of the looking-glass self.
Mead's work focuses on the way in which the self is developed. Mead's theory of the social self is
based on the perspective that the self emerges from social interactions, such as observing and
interacting with others, responding to others' opinions about oneself, and internalizing external
opinions and internal feelings about oneself. The social aspect of self is an important distinction
because other sociologists and psychologists of Mead's time felt that the self was based on
biological factors and inherited traits. According to Mead, the self is not there from birth, but it is
developed over time from social experiences and activities.
Development of Self
According to Mead, three activities develop the self: language, play, and games.
Language develops self by allowing individuals to respond to each other through symbols,
gestures, words, and sounds. Language conveys others' attitudes and opinions toward a subject or
the person. Emotions, such as anger, happiness, and confusion, are conveyed through language.
Play develops self by allowing individuals to take on different roles, pretend, and express
expectation of others. Play develops one's self-consciousness through role-playing. During role-
play, a person is able to internalize the perspective of others and develop an understanding of how
others feel about themselves and others in a variety of social situations.
Games develop self by allowing individuals to understand and adhere to the rules of the activity.
Self is developed by understanding that there are rules in which one must abide by in order to win
the game or be successful at an activity.
Two Sides of Self: Me & I
According to Mead's theory, the self has two sides or phases: 'me' and 'I.'
The 'me' is considered the socialized aspect of the individual. The 'me' represents learned
behaviors, attitudes, and expectations of others and of society. This is sometimes referred to as the
generalized other. The 'me' is considered a phase of the self that is in the past. The 'me' has been
developed by the knowledge of society and social interactions that the individual has gained.
The 'I', therefore, can be considered the present and future phase of the self. The 'I'
represents the individual's identity based on response to the 'me.' The 'I' says, 'Okay. Society says
I should behave and socially interact one way, and I think I should act the same (or perhaps
different),' and that notion becomes self.
The 'me' and the 'I' have a didactic relationship, like a system of checks and balances. The
'me' exercises societal control over one's self. The 'me' is what prevents someone from breaking
the rules or boundaries of societal expectations. The 'I' allows the individual to still express
creativity and individualism and understand when to possibly bend and stretch the rules that govern
social interactions. The 'I' and the 'me' make up the self.