Example Of Literature Review On Concept Of Self

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Experience, Psychology, Cohesion, Descartes, Flow, Sense, Personality, Soul

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/05

Three Concepts of Self (Self as A Soul, Self as an Experience of Cohesion, Self as A Flow of Experience)

‘The self as a soul’ is perhaps one of the most popular philosophical views of one’s self. This philosophy can be traced back to Rene Descartes’ theory of ‘dualism’ wherein he believe that the human being is composed of two distinct elements, the body and the soul . For Descartes, the body can be a deception and could not be used as proof of existence yet the soul, as the very essence of a person, is proof that he exists. In his book, ‘Meditations on First Philosophy,’ Descartes reasoned that he exists not because of his physical body but because of his consciousness; making him exclaim his famous reasoning, “I think, therefore I am”. As observed, “Descartes is ultimately arguing for the possibility of minds or souls existing without bodies”.
The self as an experience of cohesion is believed to have been developed by Heinz Kohut and is widely used in psychoanalytic theories. Kohut believe that ‘the cohesive self’ is the essence of a person’s psychological being and is influenced by a person’s grandiosity, idealization and the alter ego axis. The grandiosity axis is a person’s ability to maintain a positive and stable sense of self-esteem, develop healthy ambitions, and commit to meaningful tasks and projects while the idealization axis is the ability to conceive goals. On the other hand, the alter ego is defined as the person’s ability to communicate his feelings towards another. In a viewing one’s self as an experience of cohesion, these axis are perceived as working together to define whether a person develops into a mature individual or to an individual having personality disorders.
Another perception of one’s self is seeing the self as a flow of experience. This type of self-perception has been identified by scholars in an attempt to explain the motivations behind human activities. One particular example of the self as a flow of experience have been observed by Csíkszentmihályi wherein he was amazed on how an artist can disregard hunger, fatigue and discomfort in order to continue working on a painting that is going well. The concept of flow is also observed when athletes and artists perform wherein they become absorbed on the task and they barely notice any physical fatigue until the task is completed.

Major Similarities and Differences

Describe your sense of self on the basis of the three perspectives you have chosen.
In a personal opinion, I view myself as an experience of cohesion. As I reflect on my personal experiences since I was a child, I can ultimately say that those experiences have molded me as a person in ways that are more decisive than what I intended to. I see myself as a product of those experiences; experiences that are beyond my control yet molded me as a person. In a sense, I do agree with Kohut when he said that a person is defined by his personality traits. I do believe that I am a product of my psychological development, which is consistent with the perspective of self as an experience of cohesion.

Identify and analyze how your sense of self may be strengthened or used to influence your future behavior.

For me, personality traits are the most visible and have the most impact on a person’s life and environment. For the same reason, by choosing to view myself in the sense of self-cohesion, I became fully aware of my actions based on the personality traits that I possess. In a similar fashion of self-awareness, I will strive to improve my personality in order to achieve a desirable cohesive self-structure. As observed, “well-integrated structure—is achieved when people possess a stable, positively valued, and congruent set of qualities, ambitions, ideals, and values”.


Banai, E., Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. (2005). “SELFOBJECT” NEEDS IN KOHUT’S SELF PSYCHOLOGY. Retrieved March 2015, from https://www.idc.ac.il: https://www.idc.ac.il/publications/files/358.pdf
Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2014, from http://www.american-buddha.com/: http://www.american-buddha.com/discourse.part.1.htm#Note on the Translation:
Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (n.d.). The Concept of Flow. Retrieved March 2015, from http://myweb.stedwards.edu/: http://myweb.stedwards.edu/michaelo/2349/paper1/ConceptOfFlow.pdf
Skirry, J. (n.d.). René Descartes (1596—1650). Retrieved March 2015, from http://www.iep.utm.edu/: http://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/

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Example Of Literature Review On Concept Of Self. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-literature-review-on-concept-of-self/. Published Dec 05, 2020. Accessed April 11, 2021.

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