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Rahel Jaeggi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151986

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151986.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

“Like a Structure of Cotton Candy”

“Like a Structure of Cotton Candy”

Being Oneself as Self-Appropriation

(p.155) 9 “Like a Structure of Cotton Candy”

Rahel Jaeggi

, Frederick Neuhouser, Alan E. Smith
Columbia University Press

This chapter systematizes the conception of the self into an “appropriative model” of the self and defends it against various objections and rival positions. This conception of oneself as self-appropriation emphasizes the fluid and constructed character of self-relations in which we are not simply given to ourselves. Unlike the poststructuralist critique of the subject, however, it insists on the possibility of distinguishing between successful and unsuccessful ways of appropriating ourselves. Only in this way can one speak of self-alienation while avoiding the trap of essentialism. The chapter begins by proposing an appropriative conception of the self based on Hegelian and (broadly) existentialist positions. It then addresses objections to its critique of essentialism or to the ostensible implications of an antiessentialist approach, arguing that antiessentialism denies both the unity of the self and its intractability. It also examines the intractable elements of personal identity and the idea of inwardness as the individual's internal refuge from the world. Finally, it discusses the issue of self-invention as opposed to self-discovery, along with the idea of the multiplicity and the hybrid character of identity.

Keywords:   self, self-appropriation, self-relations, self-alienation, essentialism, antiessentialism, personal identity, inwardness, self-invention, self-discovery

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