Paul Thagard, University of Waterloo, Canada


Paul Thagard, University of Waterloo, Canada

Sage 4101

May 5, 2010 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


This paper proposes a theory of the self as a multilevel system consisting of social, psychological, neural, and molecular mechanisms.  This account provides integrated explanations of many phenomena concerning how people represent, control and change themselves.  The multilevel system theory of the self provides a scientific alternative to transcendental and deflationary views favored by many philosophers.  The paper identifies more than sixty aspects of the self that divide naturally into nine groups, and provides multilevel accounts of one representative from each:  self-concepts, self-consciousness, self-deception, self-presentation, self-criticism, self-esteem, self-affirmation, self-regulation, and self-development.  In place of reductionist and holistic approches to cognitive science, this paper advocates a method of multilevel interacting mechanisms.

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