The Culmination: A Twist On Self - A Review Of Charles Taylor

2195 words, 9 pages

Intro Sample...

In “Responsibility for Self,” Charles Taylor articulates an account of the self that is a critical synthesis of Sartre, Frankfurt, and Heidegger views. Articulated below will be Taylor’s account of the self and how it developed from the other philosophers’ views. Taylor sees many virtues, as well as, problems contained within Sartre’s, Frankfurt’s, and Heidegger’s account of self and agency.

A natural place to begin is with Charles Taylor’s concept of “responsibility for self.” For Taylor, responsibility for self consists in duty of radical re-evaluation of our deepest held belief:

This radical evaluation is a deep reflection, and a self-reflection in a special sense: it is a reflection about the self, its most fundamental issues,... View More »

Body Sample...

If responsibility for self and the self as such are to signify ethical relationships between the self and other, it needs to be supplemented with a more complex conception of the self—a self that is both internally divided with respect to the other and not just herself.

Locating identity in the narrative that one constructs about oneself underscores the notion that our identity—our self—is a process comprising not only the choosing self of

Taylor’s responsibility, but also the events and people from which this self chooses, rendering the latter constitutive of identity rather than its objects. Interestingly, we can find much of this kind of self in Taylor’s work.

There is a certain basic notion of how a self practically relates to itself that serves as the foundation of the concept of self-responsibility we are concerned with in this essay.

This notion owes much to the particular formulation provided by Harry Frankfurt in his writings on the self. Frankfurt’s conception of selfhood or personhood is based on the notion of “reflective self-evaluation” in the form of “second-order desires” ( “Freedom”,

Frankfurt 12). For Frankfurt, a person’s will refers to his desires which motivate him “when or if he acts”. In this sense, the will of a particular person is the same as his effective desires (14). But Frankfurt thinks that although effective desires are necessary for being a person they do not provide the sufficient condition thereof. The capacity to have first-order desires (including ones that lead all the way to action) and even to make choices or ...

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