Volume 1   Number 1      Spring 2006 

The Dialogical Self and the Renewal of Psychology
Henderikus J. Stam
University of Calgary
pp. 99-117 [pdf     doc] 
ABSTRACT. What is the problem to which the dialogical self might be an answer? I take up the question of the 'self' by opening with a perusal of psychology's self and philosophy's self. While psychology has all but abandoned the self save for an implicit and incoherent background to personhood, philosophy seeks the persistence of the self in the language of first-person pronouns. I then examine some brief conceptions of the contemporary consciousness literature only to discover that here too, the isolated form of an autonomous self remains not only the ideal but unaccountably comes into existence through the magic of neuronal organization to which is added a phenomenological being. None of these positions is able to account for our radical dependence on the other for what comes to be our agency. Finally, I examine the nature of the self according to Habermas as he reads Mead. The practical-relation-to-self is for Habermas the foundation of our originality, nonconformity and individuality although it remains curiously disembodied. I discuss this position in terms of Butler's notion of interpellation and the creation of a self that is a linguistic field of enabling constraints. These limited excursions into the literature of the self are placed in the context of contemporary discussions of a dialogical self.  
Keywords: Self, psychology, philosophy, dialogical, consciousness, Habermas, Mead, Butler