Reconsidering the Sources of the Self in the Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Periods


Esther Hudson

CUA, The School of Philosophy, Teaching Fellow

Esther’s research interests revolve around the self and philosophy of the human person, and she is currently working on a dissertation on Plotinus’ thought on the self. Her dissertation will build on Pauliina Remes’ recent book on the Plotinian concept of the self by focusing on the question of how the structured self relates to moral agency, ethical progress, and mystical ascent.

She will take into account metaphysical questions concerning the ontological status of the individual human being and the self, but she plans to focus on the process of self-knowledge and its activity in the process of ethical assent, especially in light of the idea of a hierarchically structured self, which seems to be one of the ways that Plotinus envisions the self. She hopes to show that Plotinian ideas about the self and ethical dynamism are compatible with and complement his metaphysical views.

She plans to conclude her dissertation with a section that highlights Plotinus’ contribution to the notion of the self, and then a few thoughts on the relevance of Plotinian thought on the self for in current philosophical conversations by comparing Plotinus’ idea of the self and individual human being and the idea of
what it means to be an individual human being in the phenomenology of Robert Spaemann.

Presentation title: Eros and the self in the Enneads

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