Historical and Philosophical Approaches to the Self – Assignment Instructions
Who Am I?
The purpose of this discussion assignment is to reflect upon your understanding of different historical and philosophical approaches to the self. After completing your readings, write a 2–3-page paper contrasting the avocado/ essentialist idea of the self with the artichoke/protean view of the self. Remember to explain specific theories with supporting citations from the textbook and online lectures before contrasting them.
As you develop your response, you might find some of the following questions to be relevant:
- What are some of the differences/similarities between the avocado and artichoke views of the self?
- What do you make of the feminist, existential, and non-Western critiques of the essentialist/avocado self? Are there any other problems with the idea that human beings are fundamentally rational creatures?
- What is the role of desire in the self? Is it really something separate from reason, as modernism, Christianity, and Islam assert? Can it be controlled? Should it be?
Comparing And Contrasting the Avocado / Essentialist Idea of the Self with the Artichoke / Protean View of the Self – Sample Answer
There are a number of theories developed to explain human nature. However, they can all be classified into two major groups that include avocado or artichoke. Human based on avocado view is a stable, enduring self, perceived as existing at a person’s core. However, according to artichoke view, an individual is perceived as a protean without enduring stable core. The two views can be used to define different individuals based on their value of life, with most religious based individuals portraying avocado nature while others demonstrating artichoke nature. This discussion focuses on reviewing the two existing nature of human being.
Similarities and Differences between Avocado and Artichoke Views of Self
According to avocado view, there is always an inner unchanging core in human being after peeling of the outer skin. This inner self is never changed by life experiences. It remains to be and it is the one that defines the human nature. According to most religious view, this is perceived as the soul. On the contrary, artichoke view perceives human beings as an onion which does not have any core. This demonstrates that human are changing in nature and their reaction are influenced joy different experiences at a certain moment. However, due to the power given to human, one can get hold of the situation and develop a character that does not change despite of the life challenges. This is what gives artichoke at least one similarity with avocado (Mitchell, 2014).
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Feminist, Existential, and non-Western critiques of the essentialist/avocado self
Aristotle and Plato defined human nature by identifying men with more rational aspects and women with irrational aspects such as body and emotion. In addition Christians in the fourth century church discuss whether women were created with God’s or Man’s image. This perspective is just defined to undermine a certain group of people based on their inabilities or cultural degradation. Moreover, the idea of using one character to classify individuals or to generalize on their behavior is highly criticized. Based on non-western, existential and feminist critiques human being cannot be classified based on any irrational aspect.
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Despite of appearing very similar, every person has his or her own nature that makes that person unique and different from others. The grouping and generalization has highly resulted to undermining of a certain group of people in the society since according to essentialist view they have a certain inability that makes none of them to be able to handle a certain task or to behave in a certain manner. Therefore, essentialism is highly disregarded by feminist since is it is used to undermine women and their role in the society. It is also used to group others such as Africans as poor or individual with poor mental and financial ability. In this regard, existential utters that human being have freedom and diverse perspectives and meaning of life and despite of being marginalized in one way or another, they have the ability to make rational decisions (Phillips, 2010).
Role of Desire in Self
Desire when perceived with regard to our self-realization evolution is directly connected to the association between our transformation and awakening on the human level and the relation between our human self and the soul in general. The desire force is essentially positive since there would be no an inducement to live without the desire. Desire is associated to pursuit or survival pleasure and it touches all the measures of our existence that include our spiritual evolution, love, creativity, and learning. Desire has both negative and positive side and as advised by modernism, Islamic and Christianity, desire is separate from reason. Although people have desires, they tend to follow their reason. Desire may not always be viable and thus, it should be controlled since it is possible to do so by holding into the unique power possessed by humans to control their moves and life (Hsieh, 2003).
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