The Origins of Self

An Anthropological Perspective

Martin P. J. Edwardes


ISBN: 9781787356320

Publication: July 22, 2019

The Origins of Self explores the role that selfhood plays in defining human society, and each human individual in that society. It considers the genetic and cultural origins of self, the role that self plays in socialisation and language, and the types of self we generate in our individual journeys to and through adulthood.

Edwardes argues that other awareness is a relatively early evolutionary development, present throughout the primate clade and perhaps beyond, but self-awareness is a product of the sharing of social models, something only humans appear to do. The self of which we are aware is not something innate within us, it is a model of our self produced as a response to the models of us offered to us by other people. Edwardes proposes that human construction of selfhood involves seven different types of self. All but one of them are internally generated models, and the only non-model, the actual self, is completely hidden from conscious awareness. We rely on others to tell us about our self, and even to let us know we are a self.

Developed in relation to a range of subject areas – linguistics, anthropology, genomics and cognition, as well as socio-cultural theory – The Origins of Self is of particular interest to students and researchers studying the origins of language, human origins in general, and the cognitive differences between human and other animal psychologies.

Martin P. J. Edwardes is a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, where he has taught at BA and MA levels. He is currently teaching two new modules at BA level on Language Origins and Language Construction. Martin was Web Editor for the British Association for Applied Linguistics, 2004-2007 and 2010-2016, and has edited a weekly newsletter, The EAORC Bulletin, for the evolutionary anthropology community since 2003. His first monograph, The Origins of Grammar: An Anthropological Perspective, was published in 2010.

Prologue: Down the Rabbit-hole 
1. What Is a Self?
2. Where Did Self Come From?
3. The Modelled Self 
4. How Do We Become Selves?
5. Where Did Social Calculus Come From?
6. The Language of Self 
7. Metaphors of Self
8. What Is a Self? There and Back Again 
9. Epilogue: Snarks or Boojums? 

Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

248 Pages

B&W illustrations

Copyright: © 2019

ISBN: 9781787356320

Publication: July 22, 2019

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