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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Constructing Selves

  • Author(s): Dan-Cohen, Meir
  • et al.

This essay provides a short overview, written for an interdisciplinary volume, of a theme I’ve pursued in previous work. A number of influential schools of thought converge on the view that human beings are self-creating. This constructive view of the self presents our normative systems, primarily those of morality and law, with an additional task: not only to guide us in what to do but also to shape who we are. Consequently, when devising behavior-guiding norms we must ask: what subjects will emerge from the practices and activities generated by a particular set of norms? And what considerations bear on the construction of selves through our normative engagements? I sketch some preliminary steps toward exploring this largely uncharted terrain.

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