Free Essay On Definition Of Self As Characterized By Cognitive Science
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There exists a myriad of conceptions and models of the self. The self has been considered a narrative, a substance, a function, a process, a system and even a thing. In fact, others argue that the self does not even exist. There is no harmony in the definition of the self (Kyselo 1). This discussion will focus on the definition of self as characterized by the cognitive science.
Advancements in cognitive science have given rise to novel developments that are very important. More specifically, the developments in cognitive science and its relation to the human self have led to the recognition that rather than considering the cognition to be brain-bound. It should be thought as to be embodied, that is, it entails the body as a whole. In addition, the belief that cognition is individualistic has been proven misleading by the new developments, which suggest that it is also social (De Jaegher et al. 441–447). Given this situation, cognitive science defines the human self in two ways: embodied and the social definitions.
The proponents of the embodied definition suggest that the self is equivalent to the body. According to this definition, when talking about the self, it is akin to talking about the living human body in its entirely and not the brain only. Additionally, the self, represented by the body, is presumed to exist from birth. As such, the body in itself constitutes the self (Parnass and Sass 230).
On the other hand, proponents of the social definition argue that without the interaction, the self is not fully constituted. In this definition, the core self is dependent on social processes for its individualization; otherwise, it would not be the self. This argument is fortified by researchers such as Hermans (1992) who suggested that the dialogical and sociological sense of the self is eminent in that “other people occupy positions in the multi voiced self” (250). In addition, practical experiments have been undertaken to prove his validity of this argument. For instance, considering a diseases such as the Lock-in Syndrome (LIS), which paralyses the body of a person without affecting his or her consciousness, the importance of the social in regards to the self is eminent. It is because the patient can recognize and experience as a human being, as well as engaging with other people. In this case, the patients self well-being was affected by the LSI because the social is what constituted the human self; otherwise, the self wellbeing would be deteriorated (Gosseries 191-203).
However, these two differing definitions of the self do not offer exhaustive insight into the issue. As such, it has been argued that the self constitutes both the embodied and the social. It is because human beings are identified with their bodies by birth, something that differentiates them from other living organisms. However, a distinction between human beings necessitates an advanced process for individualization to be attained, which is reached through social relations and interactions (Kyselo 1). Integrating the two definitions of cognitive scientists into a single definition emerges as an effective way to define the human self.
De Jaegher, Hanne et al. “Can social interaction constitute social cognition?”. Trends Cogn. Sci.
Vol.14 (1), 2010, p. 441–447. Print.
Eisenberger, Naomi. “Why rejection hurts: what social neuroscience has revealed about the
brain’s response to social rejection,” In the Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience, ed. Decety Jean and Cacioppo John. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 586-598. Print
Gosseries, Oliver “Consciousness in the locked-in syndrome,” in The Neurology of
Consciousness, eds Laureys, Steven, and Giulio Tononi. Oxford: Elsevier 2009, 191–203.
Hermans, Hubert. The Dialogue Self: Towards a theory of personal and cultural positioning.
Kyselo, Miriam. “The Body Social: an Enactive Approach to the Self”. Front. Psychol., 12
September 2014. Web. 22 January 2015.
Parnass, Josef and Sass Louis. “The spectrum of schizophrenia,” in The Embodied Self, 2010, p.
227–243. Stuttgart, Germany: Schattauer. Print.
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