Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226768250 Published October 2006 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226768267 Published November 2008 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226768304 Published September 2008 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

Self

Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life, and Death

Richard Sorabji

Self
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Richard Sorabji

446 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2006
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226768250 Published October 2006 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226768267 Published November 2008 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226768304 Published September 2008 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Drawing on classical antiquity and Western and Eastern philosophy, Richard Sorabji tackles in Self the question of whether there is such a thing as the individual self or only a stream of consciousness. According to Sorabji, the self is not an undetectable soul or ego, but an embodied individual whose existence is plain to see. Unlike a mere stream of consciousness, it is something that owns not only a consciousness but also a body.
       
Sorabji traces historically the retreat from a positive idea of self and draws out the implications of these ideas of self on the concepts of life and death, asking: Should we fear death? How should our individuality affect the way we live? Through an astute reading of a huge array of traditions, he helps us come to terms with our uneasiness about the subject of self in an account that will be at the forefront of philosophical debates for years to come.
 
“There has never been a book remotely like this one in its profusion of ancient references on ideas about human identity and selfhood . . . . Readers unfamiliar with the subject also need to know that Sorabji breaks new ground in giving special attention to philosophers such as Epictetus and other Stoics, Plotinus and later Neoplatonists, and the ancient commentators on Aristotle (on the last of whom he is the world's leading authority).”—Anthony A. Long, Times Literary Supplement

Journal of the History of Philosophy: Best Book Prize
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Martha Nussbaum

“Richard Sorabji’s books typically display a remarkable combination of virtues: meticulous scholarship, amazing historical range, philosophical insight and precision, and a vivid sense of the issues that a nonphilosophical reader will find interesting and engaging. Self may be his best, displaying all those virtues at a very high level. Sorabji has mastered not only the obvious texts of Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic philosophy, but also later texts that many philosophers ignore. Sorabji has a missionary enthusiasm for these texts, and writes about them with the sort of élan that will captivate readers.”

David Glidden, University of California, Riverside

“Richard Sorabji has accomplished what Vico envisioned and what Foucault, Taylor, and other philosophical anthropologists have variously attempted—namely, to provide a road map to the self. While others have explored the archaeology of the self with highly-selective demonstration excavations, Sorabji has taken up this same project with an astonishing breadth of systematic scholarship encompassing much of literate human history, ranging from the ancient Greco-Roman invention of the persona, Hindu and Buddhist explorations of personal identity to Christian, Islamic, and contemporary variants of the question, ‘what is it to be myself.’ With astonishing erudition and deep thinking, this is a rare work that captures the mystery of philosophy, its wondrously multi-faceted ineffability, as each of us looks into the mirror of the soul and wonders who we are exactly.”

Christopher Gill, University of Exeter

“This is an extraordinarily rich, learned, thoughtful and personal study of a fascinating subject. While exploring a remarkably wide range of subjects—embracing Eastern religion as well as classical Antiquity, the classical tradition and modern Western philosophy—the book maintains a clear focus on a specific set of issues and concepts. Overall, a distinctive vision of the complex, many-layered subject of the self emerges, as well as an exceptionally informative and perceptive review of philosophical perspectives.”

Anthony A. Long | Times Literary Supplement
"There has never been a book remotely like this one in its profusion of ancient references on ideas about human identity and selfhood and the sheer quantity of information it provides. . . . Readers unfamiliar with the subject also need to know that Sorabji breaks new ground in giving special attention to philosophers such as Epictetus and other Stoics, Plotinus and later Neoplatonists, and the ancient commentators on Aristotle (on the last of whom he is the world's leading authority)."
Christopher Gill | Phronesis
"A very rich and suggestive study; though personal in approach and shaped by Sorabji's combination of intellectual curiosity and humanity, it is also incisive in presentation and highly informative."
Marya Schlechtman | Review of Metaphysics
"Sorabji brings to life and makes compelling complex philosophical debates that have been pursued for millennia. There is something for everyone in this magnificent study, and it represents a precious resource for those interested not only in questions of self, but more generally in the evolution of human thought."
James Stacey Taylor | Metapsychology
"The range of Self is breathtaking. Sorabji displays a mastery of Greek, Roman, Medieval, early Christian, Islamic, Modern, Buddhist, and Hindu sources, as well as the work of contemporary philosophers in fields as diverse as ethics, metaphysics, ancient philosophy, and philosophy of language. . . . Self is an important book, and deserves to be read by all interested in its subject matter, whether they are philosophers, classicists, or psychologists."
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