Know Thyself: The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge takes the reader on tour of the nature, value, and limits of self-knowledge. Mitchell S. Green calls on classical sources like Plato and Descartes, 20th-century thinkers like Freud, recent developments in neuroscience and experimental psychology, and even Buddhist philosophy to explore topics at the heart of who we are. The result is an unvarnished look at both the achievements and drawbacks of the many attempts to better know one’s own self.
Key topics in this volume include:
This book is designed to be used in conjunction with the free ‘Know Thyself’ MOOC (massive open online course) created through collaboration of the University of Connecticut's Project on Humility and Conviction in Public Life, and the University of Edinburgh’s Eidyn research centre, and hosted on the Coursera platform (https://www.coursera.org/learn/know-thyself). The book is also suitable as a text for interdisciplinary courses in the philosophy of mind or self-knowledge, and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a short overview of this fascinating topic.
"A first glance at the problem of self-knowledge often yields a first answer: we simply turn our gaze away from the outside world to the inside world and see what we have within, immediately and transparently. But as this absorbing book shows, matters are significantly more nuanced than that simple picture would suggest. Mitchell S. Green, combining razor-sharp acuity with a wonderfully lucid style, interweaves historical and contemporary work on this topic in a revelatory way, uncovering what it actually means to ask and answer questions of self-knowledge. And with chapter summaries, study questions, and further-reading lists, this concise volume will leave no reader behind. An enlightening and enjoyable guided tour through a matter of universal interest."
--Garry L. Hagberg, Bard College
"Mitchell S. Green is succeeding in bringing philosophy back to its proper historical place: Without presupposing any special background knowledge, this book is for anyone who is curious about living a good life and interested in the topic of self-knowledge. Know Thyself is written clearly and engagingly, is well-structured, and offers a lot of helpful further information—a both welcome and important contribution which I also recommend for classroom use."
--Jan Michel, Bochum University
1. Socrates and the Examined Life
2. Descartes’ Essence
3. Ryle’s Re-Casting of the "Mind-Body Problem"
4. The Freudian Unconscious
5. The Adaptive Unconscious
6. Self-Misleading, Empathy, and Humility
7. Persons: Some Western Approaches
8. No Thyself: A Buddhist Perspective
Glossary of key terms
Name and Subject Index