Current Psychology

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 312–325

On the disunity of the self: A systems theory of personality

  • David Lester


The views of a variety of theorists who have proposed that the mind may be usefully conceptualized as made up of a set of subselves are reviewed, and several principles are proposed for a possible systems theory of personality.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allison, R., & Schwartz, T. (1980).Minds in many pieces. New York: Rawson-Wade.Google Scholar
  2. Allport, G. W. (1961).Pattern and growth in personality. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  3. Angyal, A. (1965).Neurosis and treatment. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Anon. (undated).Three approaches to psychotherapy. Orange, CA: Psychological Films.Google Scholar
  5. Assagoli, R. (1975).Psychosynthesis. London: Turnstone.Google Scholar
  6. Balint, M. (1968).The basic fault. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  7. Beahrs, J. O. (1982).Unity and multiplicity. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  8. Berne, E. (1961).Transactional analysis in psychotherapy. New York: Grove.Google Scholar
  9. Boulding, K. E. (1968).The organizational revolution. Chicago: Quadrangle.Google Scholar
  10. Catell, R. B. (1948). Concepts and methods in the measurement of group syntality.Psychological Review, 55, 48–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson, D. (1985). Deception and division. In J. Elster (Ed.),The multiple self (pp. 79–92). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Denzin, N. K. (1987). A phenomenology of the emotionally divided self. In K. Yardley & T. Honess (Eds.),Self and identity (pp. 287–296). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. de Sousa, R. (1976). Rational homunculi. In A. O. Rorty (Ed.),The identities of persons. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dennett, D. C. (1978).Brainstorms. Brighton, England: Harvester.Google Scholar
  15. Elster, J. (1985). Introduction. In J. Elster (Ed.),The multiple self (pp. 1–34). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Erikson, E. (1959). Identity and the life cycle.Psychological Issues, 1(1).Google Scholar
  17. Erikson, E. (1968).Identity: youth and crisis. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  18. Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1952).Psychoanalytic studies of the personality. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  19. Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1954).An object-relations theory of the personality. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Federn, P. (1952).Ego psychology and the psychoses. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  21. Freud, S. (1933).New introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  22. Gazzaniga, M. (1985).The social brain. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  23. Gergen, K. J. (1972). Multiple identity.Psychology Today, 5(12), 31–35, 64–66.Google Scholar
  24. Goffman, E. (1974).Frame analysis. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  25. Guntrip, H. (1971).Psychoanalytic theory, therapy and the self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  26. Hilgard, E. R. (1986).Divided consciousness. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. Hofstadter, D. R. & Dennett, D. C. (Eds.). (1981).The mind’s I. Brighton, England: Harvester.Google Scholar
  28. Horowitz, M. (1988). Formulation of states of mind in psychotherapy.American Journal of Psychotherapy, 42, 514–520.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. James, W. (1890).Principles of psychology. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  30. Janov, A. (1970).The primal scream. New York: Putnam.Google Scholar
  31. Kelly, G. (1955).The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  32. Kihlstrom, J. F., & Cantor, N. (1984). Mental representations of the self. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.)Advances in experimental social psychology, Volume 17, (pp. 1–47). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  33. Klein, M. (1948).Contributions to psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  34. Laing, R. D. (1969).The divided self. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  35. Laing, R. D. (1982).The voice of experience. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.Google Scholar
  36. Lake, F. (1980).Studies in constricted confusion. Oxford: Clinical Theology Association.Google Scholar
  37. Lester, D. (1985). Applications of the principles of group behavior to systems theories of personality.Psychology, 22(2), 1–3.Google Scholar
  38. Lester, D. (1987a). Systems theories of personality: implications from Boulding’s writings.Psychology, 24(3), 44–46.Google Scholar
  39. Lester, D. (1987b). The concept of integration in systems theories of personality.Psychology, 24(4), 66–67.Google Scholar
  40. Lester, D. (1992). The disunity of the self.Personality & Individual Differences, 8, 947–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lewin, K. (1936).Topological psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Lifton, R. J. (1970).History and human survival. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  43. Loevinger, J. (1971).Ego development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  44. Lycan, W. G. (1981). Form, function and feel.Journal of Philosophy, 78, 24–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mahrer, A. R. (1978).Experiencing. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  46. Mair, J. M. M. (1977). The community of self. In D. Bannister (Ed.),New perspectives in personal construct theory (pp. 125–149). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  47. Margolis, H. (1982).Selfishness, altruism and rationality. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Markus, H. (1983). Self-knowledge.Journal of Personality, 51, 543–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Martindale, C. (1980). Subselves. In L. Wheeler (Ed.),Review of personality and social psychology, Volume 1, (pp. 193–218). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Maslow, A. H. (1970).Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  51. McAdams, D. P. (1985). The imago. In P. Shaver (Ed.),Self, situations and social behavior (pp. 115–141). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  52. McCall, G. J., & Simmons, J. L. (1966).Identities and interactions. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  53. McCulloch, W. S. (1965).Embodiments of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  54. Minsky, M. (1986).The society of mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  55. Murray, H. A. (1959). Preparations for the scaffold of a comprehensive system. In S. Koch (Ed.),Psychology, Volume 3 (pp. 7–54). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  56. O’Connor, E. (1971).Our many selves. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  57. Ogilvy, J. (1977).Many dimensional man. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Ouspensky, P. D. (1949).In search of the miraculous. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.Google Scholar
  59. Pears, D. (1985). The goals and strategies of self-deception. In J. Elster (Ed.),The multiple self (pp. 59–77). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Perls, F. (1969).Gestalt therapy verbatim. Moab, UT: Real People Press.Google Scholar
  61. Perls, F. S., Hefferline, R. F., & Goodman, P. (1951).Gestalt therapy. New York: Julian.Google Scholar
  62. Progoff, I. (1973).Jung’s psychology and its social meaning. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1973.Google Scholar
  63. Redfearn, J. W. T. (1985).My self, my many selves. London: Academic.Google Scholar
  64. Rogers, C. R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.),Psychology, Volume 3 (pp. 184–256). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  65. Rogers, T. B. (1981). A model of the self as an aspect of the human information processing system. In N. Cantor & J. F. Kihlstrom (Eds.),Personality, cognition and social interaction, (pp. 193–214). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  66. Rorty, A. O. (1985). Self-deception, akrasia and irrationality. In J. Elster (Ed.),The multiple self (pp. 115–131). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Rowan, J. (1990).Subpersonalities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Sampson, E. E. (1983). Deconstruing psychology’s subject.Journal of Mind & Behavior, 4, 135–164.Google Scholar
  69. Satir, V. (1978).Your many faces. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.Google Scholar
  70. Shapiro, S., & Elliott, J. (1976).The selves within you. Berkeley, CA: Explorations Institute.Google Scholar
  71. Sidgwick, H. (1893).The methods of ethics. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  72. Southgate, J., & Randall, R. (1978).The barefoot psychoanalyst. London: Association of Karen Horney Psychoanalytic Counsellors.Google Scholar
  73. Steedman, I., & Krause, U. (1985). Goethe’s Faust, Arrow’s possibility theorem and the individual decision-taker. In J. Elster (Ed.),The multiple self (pp. 197–231). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Steiner, C. (1974).Scripts people live. New York: Grove.Google Scholar
  75. Stone, H., & Winkelman, S. (1985).Embracing ourselves. Marina del Rey, CA: Devors.Google Scholar
  76. Tart, C. T. (1986).Waking up. Boston: New Science Library.Google Scholar
  77. Wagner, E. (1971). Structural analysis.Journal of Personality Assessment, 35, 422–435.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Watkins, J. G. (1978).The therapeutic self. New York: Human Sciences Press.Google Scholar
  79. Watkins, M. (1986).Invisible quests. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  80. Wessler, R. L. (1986). Conceptualizing cognitions in the cognitive-behavioural therapies. In W. Dryden & W. Golden (Eds.),Cognitive-behavioural approaches to psychotherapy, (pp. 1–30). London: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  81. Winnicott, D. W. (1960).The maturational process and the facilitating environment. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lester
    • 1
  1. 1.the Center for the Study of Suicide, RR41Blackwood

Personalised recommendations