Recentering the Self

A Defense of the Ego

By Michael Washburn

Subjects: Transpersonal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Psychology Of Religion, Philosophy Of Mind
Series: SUNY series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology
Hardcover : 9781438494678, 534 pages, October 2023
Paperback : 9781438494661, 534 pages, April 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-04-02

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Table of contents

List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART I: RETHINKING THE NOTION OF THE EGO

1. The Birth of the Ego: Descartes’s “Thing That Thinks”

2. Before the Ego: Greek Philosophy, Christian Doctrine, and the New Physics of the Seventeenth Century

3. Rethinking the Notion of the Ego, Stage One: From Descartes to the End of the Nineteenth Century

4. Rethinking the Notion of the Ego, Stage Two: The Twentieth Century

5. The Ego’s Self-System and Lifeworld

PART II: RETHINKING EGO DEVELOPMENT

6. The First Four Weeks

7. Infancy

8. Early Toddling

9. Late Toddling and the Preschool Years

10. Middle Childhood

11. Adolescence

12. Early Adulthood

13. Midlife

14. Retirement

15. Old Age

PART III: RETHINKING THE EGO’S ROLE IN SPIRITUAL LIFE

16. Spiritual Preawakening

17. Spiritual Awakening

18. Spiritual Growth

19. Spiritual Maturity

Notes
References
Index

Reformulates the notion of the ego and provides a new perspective for understanding ego development and the role of the ego in spiritual life.

Description

In Recentering the Self, Michael Washburn presents a new account of the ego, ego development, and the role of the ego in spiritual life. He starts by tracing the premodern antecedents of the notion of the ego in Greek philosophy and Christian theology and then explains the seventeenth-century emergence of the notion in Descartes's radically new account of the soul’s relation to the body. Reviewing subsequent criticisms of the notion, the author formulates a revised conception of the ego that highlights the ego's inherently two-sided nature, as a subject and agency that, although rooted within interior consciousness, lives originally and primarily in the material, social world. Washburn uses this revised conception of the ego to explain how the two sides of the ego develop in concert over major stages of the human lifespan and why the ego, despite widespread belief to the contrary, plays primarily a positive role in spiritual life. Recentering the Self makes important contributions to the history of philosophy, consciousness studies, phenomenology, developmental psychology, and spiritual or transpersonal psychology.

Michael Washburn is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Indiana University South Bend. He is the author of Embodied Spirituality in a Sacred World, The Ego and the Dynamic Ground: A Transpersonal Theory of Human Development, and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective, all published by SUNY Press.

Reviews

"Michael Washburn is considered one of the most authoritative theorists of transpersonal development, and Recentering the Self provides a much-needed supplement to his theory, offering a reexamination of the notion of the ego and its development, first within the general context of the human lifespan and then within the specific context of spiritual life." — Massimo Marraffa, Roma Tre University