Me, Myself, and I: The Rise of the Modern Self

Panel Discussion May 12, 2011

How did the modern concept of the Self emerge as a subject? Does the Self described by the classical Greeks, Aquinas, and philosophers of the Enlightenment match the reality of what we know about ourselves through human experience and psychological research?

Historians Gerald Izenberg and Jerrold Seigel, philosopher Raymond Martin, and sociologist Norbert Wiley will trace the evolution of the meaning of Self from antiquity to the present and will consider how the Self described by classical philosophers matches the reality of what we know about ourselves from human experience and research.

What is the self? by Robert Hanna
The modern notion of self by Gerald Izenberg
The American self and the long march to legal equality by Norbert Wiley


  • Robert Hanna Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Gerald Izenberg Professor of History, Washington University
  • Raymond Martin Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair, Union College
  • Norbert Wiley Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Jerrold Seigel Professor of History Emeritus, NYU


  • Thursday, May 12, 2011
  • 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
    7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor


This volume stems from a six-part lecture series that fostered reflection and insight on the current concept and theories of the self and their moral, ethical, and social implications. In addition to full transcripts of each panel, the volume also contains a number of essays by many of the participants.

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About This Series

This event is the first in a six-part series, Perspectives on the Self, which brings together experts from the sciences and the humanities for conversations on the evolving meaning and experience of the Self.