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13 - ‘Know Thyself’: What Kind of an Injunction?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2024

Michael McGhee
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

To be told, ‘know thyself’ is to be told that I don’t know myself yet: it carries the assumption that I am in some sense distracted from what or who I actually am, that I am in error or at least ignorance about myself. It thus further suggests that my habitual stresses, confusions and frustrations are substantially the result of failure or inability to see what is most profoundly true of me: the complex character of my injuries or traumas, the distinctive potential given me by my history and temperament. I conceal my true feelings from my knowing self; I am content to accept the ways in which other people define me, and so fail to ‘take my own authority’ and decide for myself who or what I shall be.

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Chapter
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Spiritual Life , pp. 344 - 371
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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References

Ferry, L. and Renaut, A. 1990. French Philosophy of the ‘60’s. An essay on Antihumanism (Amherst).Google Scholar
Girard, R. 1987. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (London).Google Scholar
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Laing, R. D. 1960. The Divided Self (London).Google Scholar
Robinson, J. (ed.) 1977. The Nag Hammadi Library (Leiden).Google Scholar
Vesey, G. 1991. ‘Self-Aquaintance and the Meaning of “I”’, Inner and Outer. Essays on a Philosophical Myth (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
Williams, R. 1982. Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel (London).Google Scholar
Williams, R. 1992. ‘The Paradoxes of Self-Knowledge in De Trinitate X’, Collectanea Augustiniana (forthcoming).Google Scholar

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