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Philosophical Problems in the Contemporary World

Edited By Dilek Arlı Çil and Nihal Petek Boyaci

The social and technological developments, social movements, scientific discoveries, economic growth or diseconomies give rise to many problems for human beings. Many disciplines such as economics, political science, architecture, sociology and psychology discuss these problems and offer solutions from different perspectives. Philosophy has its own way of dealing with these problems. As opposed to the common belief, philosophy does not only deal with ideals independently of what is going on in real life. The problems of the contemporary philosophy are also the problems of the contemporary world. For this reason, this book aims to present and discuss certain philosophical problems in the contemporary world and to suggest solutions to them.

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“What Is the Self” or “Who Is the Self” After Cartesian Cogito

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Introduction

How did the self move into the agenda of philosophy by overcoming ego discussions and separating from them? We can clarify this question by turning our face into Foucault’s book titled Technologies of the Self. In his work, Foucault mentions firstly three basic technical forms which are related to knowing self in human communities. The first one is the techniques of daily living that are able to produce, transform and process things. The second is the techniques that allow to set up and use sign systems. The third is domination techniques that allow the individual to determine the attitude, impose some command on them, and subordinate them to some goals or certain goals. In addition to these three techniques, Foucault states that in our times we must add the techniques of the self. Through these techniques, a human will transform, change and build himself/herself (Foucault, 1988: 18). The techniques of the self present a framework both where the self is looked for and what/who the self is.

The question of where the self is looked for within the framework of self-understanding. In other words, the subject-self is transformed into the subject of philosophy in the 20th century, especially the disciplines of ethical and philosophical anthropology as well as psychology, literature and language, law, medical sciences, biology (bio-social-psychic) and sociology. The contemporary subject-self is “citizen” (Balibar), “the subject of the law” (Agamben), “performative” (Foucault, Butler), “phenomenal” (Husserl), “narrative” (Ricoeur, MacIntyre), “other” (Levinas, Badiou, Arendt)...

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