Personality as equilibrium: fragility and plasticity in (inter-)personal identity
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The fabric of human life is ontologically different from the fabric of, for example, plant life. The plant is a living process of bodily growth enacted in and as xylem, phloem, tap-roots, etc. The human, on the contrary, is a living process of inhabiting a shared world of moral striving, aesthetic contemplation, political exploitation, erotic passion, and so on, and this process is enacted in and as inherently human relationships and practices. I note this contrast, not for the sake of making an argument about the external contrast between human experience and the life-situations of other organisms, but for the heuristic purpose of orienting us to the internal project of describing human experience on its own terms.1 The understanding of the existential fabric of human life requires different sorts of interpretive categories--a different ontology--than does the understanding of the fabric of vegetal life, and it is those categories that I aim to clarify here.
Long ago, Aristotle...
KeywordsSelf-identity Phenomenology Virtues of character Husserl Merleau-Ponty Aristotle Dynamic systems theory Personality development
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