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On Becoming GodLate Medieval Mysticism and the Modern Western Self$
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Ben Morgan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239924

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239924.001.0001

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Histories of Modern Selfhood

Histories of Modern Selfhood

(p.60) 4 Histories of Modern Selfhood
On Becoming God

John D. Caputo

Fordham University Press

The fourth chapter discusses existing models for writing the history of forms of identity, in particular the work of Michel Foucault, Charles Taylor, Peter and Christa Bürger and Jerrold Seigel. The limits of their positions are discussed, but at the same time they all contribute to the project of a defamiliarizing history of forms of modern identity. Foucault's works is shown to be useful for the attention it gives to the practices through which identities are fashioned. Charles Taylor insists on the shared nature of these practices, and the ethical impulses which underpin them. He also points out that the practices underpinning modern identity have evolved historically and don't fit together to form a unified package. Peter and Christa Bürger remind us that male and female identities cannot be considered in isolation from each other, while Jerrold Seigel draws attention to the importance of giving an account of identity that includes what it feels like to live that identity from the inside. The chapter closes by showing how the prereflexive awareness to which Seigel's argument appeals must be radically rethought for it is inseparable from an involvement in the world that connects it to history and shared social practices.

Keywords:   Michel Foucault, Charles Taylor, Peter Bürger, Christa Bürger, Jerrold Seigel, history of modern identity, techniques of the self, spatial metaphors, identity as a form of activity, prereflexive self-awareness

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