Title

Agency and the Other: On the intersubjective roots of self-identity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2012

Abstract

The essay argues that a systematic reconstruction of the intersubjective grounds of self-consciousness and self-identity will yield a complex non-reductive notion of agency. Core features of human agency include intentional causality, conscious understanding thereof, as well as the capacity to distinguish self-caused from externally caused phenomena. By analyzing how self-consciousness emerges from intersubjective perspective-taking and dialogue, a socially embedded and symbolically mediated notion of self-identity-one which is able to preserve the core features of human agency-becomes viable. G.H. Mead's work serves as heuristic framework to articulate the extent to which the Other's irreducible agency is constitutive of the self's capacity to establish an identity, now understood as a socially situated narrative self-interpreting process. Self-identity reveals to be an essential open yet not fragmented dynamic, a socially situated yet agent-driven phenomenon, and ethically indebted to the Other as providing the essential gift of selfhood. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

New Ideas in Psychology

Volume

30

Issue

1

First Page

47

Last Page

64

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.newideapsych.2010.03.010

ISSN

0732118X

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