The Formation of the Self. Nietzsche and Complexity

South African Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):1-17 (2002)
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The purpose of this article is to examine the relationship between the formation of the self and the worldly horizon within which this self achieves its meaning. Our inquiry takes place from two perspectives: the first derived from the Nietzschean analysis of how one becomes what one is; the other from current developments in complexity theory. This two-angled approach opens up different, yet related dimensions of a non-essentialist understanding of the self that is none the less neither arbitrary nor deterministic. Indeed, at the meeting point of these two perspectives on the self lies a conception of a dynamic, worldly self, whose identity is bound up with its appearance in a world shared with others. After examining this argument from the respective view points offered by Nietzsche and complexity theory, the article concludes with a consideration of some of the political and ethical implications of representing our situatedness within a shared human domain as a condition for self-formation

Author Profiles

Vasti Roodt
University of Stellenbosch
Tanya de Villiers-Botha
University of Stellenbosch


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