Myths of the Self
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Myths of the Self : Narrative Identity and Postmodern Metaphysics

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Myths of the Self is a departure from the standard fare of postmodern thought. In a unique and brilliant turn, Smith argues that the best way of dealing with the topic of the self is a synthesis of a narrative theory of identity, using Ricoeur as a source, along with the constructive "postmodern" metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead. The resulting synthesis is a new and potentially invigorating spin on the genesis of postmodern thought.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.1 x 22.9mm | 204.12g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739108433
  • 9780739108437

Review quote

I believe that Myths of the Self is an important work that could make an important contribution to the current discussion in many respects. Perhaps most novel is Bryant's interpretation of Kant. It has the potential to move Kant studies out of their dogmatic slumbers. -- David Griffin, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology; Professor of Religion, Claremont Graduate University Smith's exciting retrieval of Whitehead and Ricouer out of the Kantian background gives new relevance to the mythic component of our "construction" of self. Not to be missed. -- Bruce Wilshire, Senior Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University This intriguing journey across the landscape of modern philosophy builds a pervasive case for seeing Whitehead's metaphysics as providing the theoretical resources for understanding human lives in the narrative terms of everyday experience. It thereby provides a distinctive vantage point for combining the key insights of some major twentieth century philosophers in a way that mediates between important trends in Continental and Anglo-American thought. -- Nicholas Rescher Smith's theory of the nature and identity of the self is original, important, and beautifully grounded in the history of philosophy. His nuanced interpretation, critique, and development of relevant ideas in Kant, Heidegger, Whitehead, and Ricoeur lays the foundation for an impressive synthesis of metaphysical and phenomenological ontologies in terms of which self and nature are both understood as essentially involving creative processes of interpretation and expression. -- Jorge L. Nobo, Professor of Philosophy, Washburn University It is remarkable how comparatively little intradisciplinary discourse occurs among practitioners in the various fields in philosophy. Olav Bryant Smith is an exception. He brings together two groups that should have much in common: process thinkers (in both philosophy and religious studies) and continental thinkers. He argues convincingly that Kant, the quintessential modern thinker, is also in a way the father of postmodernism. He also shows how Heidegger's phenomenological genius left him a bit short when it came to ontology. Further, Smith is to be thanked for bringing together in a clear and insightful way two thinkers who make real philosophical advances over Kant and Heidegger: Alfred North Whitehead and Paul Ricoeur. Whithead's ontology and Ricoeur's narrative theory need each other, Smith argues. The result is a thought-provoking and readable theory of the postmodern self that is indeed constructive. -- Daniel A. Dombrowski, Seattle University This is a very intelligent and engaging essay in constructive postmodern metaphysics. Olav Smith brings Whitehead into provocative and fruitful dialogue with the philosophies of Kant, Heidegger, and Ricoeur. The diverse discussions are marked by many illuminating and surprising connections. -- William Desmond, Institute of Philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, David Cook Visiting Chair in Philosophy, Villanova University Through careful, informed examination of Kant, Heidegger, Whitehead and Ricoeur, Olav Smith dissects myths, understood as narratives about the self, in relating narrative identity and postmodern metaphysics. Smith makes an intelligent, original and certainly intriguing contribution to the task of rethinking the self against the background of an ontology based on modern science. -- Tom Rockmore, Duquesne Universityshow more

About Olav Bryant Smith

Olav Bryant Smith is Lecturer at California State University, Chico.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Immanuel Kant: The Postmodern Turn Chapter 2 Martin Heidegger: Toward a Fundamental Ontology Chapter 3 A.N. Whitehead: Toward aMore Fundamental Ontology Chapter 4 Paul Ricoeur: Narrative Theory and its Metaphysical Groundshow more

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