Passibility pp 141-158 | Cite as

Otherness of Self

  • Wolff-Michael Roth
Part of the Classics in Science Education book series (CISE, volume 3)


In an essay entitled “Facts and the Self from a Constructivist Point of View,” Ernst von Glasersfeld takes a Kantian position and shows “how the cognizing subject builds up the idea of fellow experiencers who help to supply stability and a sense of objectivity to the experiential world.” The author comes to accept a Cartesian ego as the basis of the human faith in the self as an active agent. The problem in this position is – shown in the ultimately futile effort of Edmund Husserl to establish an absolute science of the “I” – that we could never build up an understanding of others from the inside out, so to speak. In this chapter, I use interview excerpts in which a science teacher talk about herself and her teaching. I show how it is precisely because people talk about themselves that these Selves are generalized and inherently other. Speakers use genres for telling their auto/biographies, which are populated with characters and plots, so that who they are and can be always already is framed in terms of the other and the general. As a result, the Self is not built up from inside out, nor is it built from outside in.


Teacher Talk Radical Passivity Repeatable Instant Substitute Teacher Speaking Subject 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.British ColumbiaCanada

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