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(Short version)the problems with the self.docx (97.42 kB)

The Problems with the Self: A Conceptual Analysis

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posted on 2023-04-24, 10:03 authored by Sohrab HadeeiSohrab Hadeei

Many diverse theories and accounts, scattered across different disciplines, have already been proposed about the self and its nature, but the self has still remained ambiguous without a clear definition universally accepted by the majority of social scientists or philosophers and it is worth understanding why. In this regard, there are some problems that need to be addressed, including the multidisciplinarity, polysemy, multiplicity, multi-referentiality, linguistic issues, and so forth. Also at issue is the improper use of the term ʹselfʹ, that is a serious oversight putting the self into a state of confusion. The primary aim of the present study is to clarify some of the confusion surrounding the self and to identify its various meanings already used in psychology, philosophy, sociology, and neuroscience. Another is to provide some plausible explanations for why the self has become so problematic, and also to shed light on the obstacles to achieving a general consensus on its definition. In the end, a useful set of suggestions for dealing with the problem is recommended. 

This study focuses exclusively on the terminological and conceptual confusion around the self and also reveals the excessive multiplicity of concepts which creates unwanted redundancy and adds unnecessary complexity to a given problem. The purposes of this study are to identify various meanings of ʹselfʹ, to address problematic issues regarding the self and to redress authorsʹ inattention to improper uses of the term, as this is a serious oversight which makes the term more ambiguous. 


I received no financial support for the research and authorship of this article.‎


Declaration of conflicts of interest

I have no conflict of interest to disclose. ‎

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Iran (the Islamic Republic of)

Lead author job role

  • Independent researcher

Lead author institution

Islamic Azad University South Tehran Branch

Human Participants

  • No

Terms agreed

  • Yes, I agree to Advance terms


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