To know oneself - Essay Example

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To know oneself

The “know thyself” phrase by Socrates is engraved in the entrance of the Apollo temple at Delphi in order to illustrate the importance of knowing one’s self (qtd. in Hergenhahn 44-45). Socrates believes that the essence of something is necessary in order to understand an individual’s self. Essence for Socrates is a definition or a concept that is universally accepted and acknowledged. In relation to this, Rene Descartes believes that a person exist because he or she is thinking (qtd. in E. Paul, Miller, and J. Paul 76-79). Therefore, the ability for a person to think is the greatest manifestation of self and existence. Descartes strongly believes that the only manifestation of the self is the capacity to think. The universe that he believes in may be just a creative hallucination, but the fact that he thinks of hallucinating is a proof of his self and existence. Self, the ability to think, is not relatively related to the parts of a person’s body. Descartes believes that self, so long as the brain functions, is present even without legs. Therefore, Descartes's argument can be put into simpler sense that a self, which is considered as the personal identity, is the same mind and body. This argument is the same with John Locke; he considers that consciousness, which is the ability to sense and perceive, is the ability of a person to think. ...Show more


The Essence of Self Socrates was famous for his statement which is “know thyself” (Hergenhahn 44). With the phrase on hand, the question now refers on the manner of understanding the parameters of self. There have been a lot of philosophical discussions on the true meaning of self…
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