richard hallam

Virtual Selves, Real Persons: A Dialogue Across Disciplines
Cambridge University Press, 2009

Virtual selves, Real persons discusses the ways in which various academic disciplines – biological, social, historical and philosophical – have tackled the problem of conceptualizing persons and selves. The book aims to integrate local, cultural, and historical senses of self with universal assumptions that are made by the natural sciences in their attempts to theorize agency, child development, human social evolution, and the neural basis of mind. Current theoretical debates and empirical research are traced back to their roots in religious and philosophical ideas. This book is unique in its attempt to create a dialogue across diverse fields of thought while retaining a consistent view of self as a virtual reality and the person as embodied within a biological organism. This book should interest academic and general readers alike.




Book cover

* Table of contents
Part I. A Constructionist Framework for Person and Self:
1. The main themes: virtual selves, mind-body dualism and natural science
2. Conceptualising self
3. Generic persons and selves
4. Multiplicity within singularity
5. Sense-of-self: the first-person perspective
6. Self in historical explanation
7. Self as historically positioned and narrated

Part II. Person and Self in Science:
8. Philosophy's legacy to a science of self
9. Self in mind and brain
10. Self, person as agent and natural causation
11. Self in child development
12. Self in human evolution
13. Loose ends and split hairs


* Extracts from a review by John Pickering, University of Warwick.
Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 17, No.9-10, September-October 2010.

Virtual Selves, Real Persons was selected by the Media Ecology Association as the 2011 winner of the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Social Interaction. The Media Ecology Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the study, research, criticism, and application of media ecology in educational, industry, political, civic, social, cultural, and artistic contexts, and the open exchange of ideas, information, and research among the Association’s members and the larger community.




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All content © Richard Hallam 2009-2018