Self-Expression and Self-Control

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It is often said that people are ‘not themselves’ when they are in situations which rob them of their self-control. Strangely, these are also circumstances in which people are often said to be most fully themselves. This paper investigates the pictures of the self behind these two truisms, and the relation between them. Harry Frankfurt’s work represents the first truism, and standard objections to his work the second. Each of these approaches is found to capture one independent and widely employed picture of the self. The connection each draws between being oneself and flourishing, however, suggests a point of contact between them. This point of contact is used to develop a third view of being oneself which integrates the insights of the other two.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Philosophy, Chicago, Illinois

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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