Context and Reflexivity: The Genealogy of Self

  • Richard M. Zaner
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 1)


The project I have set myself is mammoth and unmanageable. To attempt it anyway is foolish, and not only for that reason. As William Golding’s Jocelin reflects, “to think how the mind touches all things with law, yet deceives itself as easily as a child,” 1 so this project, seeking the inner logos of self’s emergence, may well be too easily deceived. “Self,” so readily characterizable in language by a substantivization of a reflexive (divested of the pronominative it qualifies), is, it may be, no substantive at all but an oddly fugitive reflexive presence, foredooming such inquisitive efforts as this to subtle but always rude failure. The vagaries of custom and habit seduce one to believe in the continuous subsistence of self, sometimes with marked passion; yet searches designed to ferret it out just as often end by entrapping themselves in their own belief and passion. It were wiser perhaps to leave these matters to those more accustomed to the regions of illusion and sly dexterity: the magical crafts.


Traffic Light Corporeal Schema Marked Passion Contextual Character Bodily Enactment 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Zaner
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

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