The Philosopher's "I"
Autobiography and the Search for the Self
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Using works written over the course of 1,500 years, considers philosophers’ autobiographies as a genre of philosophical writing.
This book examines philosophers' autobiographies as a genre of philosophical writing. Author J. Lenore Wright focuses her attention on five philosophical autobiographies: Augustine's Confessions, Descartes' Meditations, Rousseau's The Confessions, Nietzsche's Ecce Homo, and Hazel Barnes's The Story I Tell Myself. In the context of first-person narration, she shows how the philosophers in question turn their attention inward and unleash their analytical rigor on themselves.
Wright argues that philosophical autobiography makes philosophical analysis necessary and that one cannot unfold without the other. Her distinction between the ontological and rhetorical dimensions of the self creates a rich middle ground in which questions of essence and identity bear upon existence.
J. Lenore Wright is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University.