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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  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.

  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.

    Article  Google 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).

  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.

    PubMed  Google 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.

    Article  Google 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.

    Article  Google 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.

    Article  Google 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.

    PubMed  Google 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 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Lester.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lester, D. On the disunity of the self: A systems theory of personality. Current Psychology 12, 312–325 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02686812

Download citation

Keywords

  • Child Development
  • Current Psychology
  • Personal Construct
  • Group Syntality
  • Personal Construct Theory