University of Iceland

Regulates the Self

Regulates the Self

“The study concerns the nature of the self, its correct demarcation and the connections between various well known self-concepts such as self-image, self-esteem, self-respect, and not least the consequences these phenomena have for people’s happiness and results in education, life and work,” says Kristján Kristjánsson, Professor in the Philosophy of Education on his study “The Self and its educational ramifications.”

Kristjánsson says that he has encountered various inconsistencies and misconceptions in discussions of the self and self-concepts; both in everyday discourse and in academia. “It especially vexed me how scholars in different fields such as philosophy, psychology and education have not endeavoured to compare their results in this area and learn from each other”, says Kristjánsson.

Kristjánsson says he chose his subject in the hope to find a common framework for these otherwise distinct discourses. “I also chose it in the hope that some practical educational conclusions may be drawn from my work”. Kristjánsson’s main results have appeared in his book “The Self and Its Emotions” published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. “I have continued developing various ideas since then in conferences and seminars in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany and Taiwan.”

Kristjánsson’s research has in his opinion value for science and Icelandic society. “The philosophical value of the research lies in defending a certain soft-realism; ie. an idea where the self is seen as a concrete reality, not just a mental construct, where a clear distinction is drawn between the self on the one hand, and self-image on the other. Another theoretical value lies in connections between different discursive traditions on the self and everyday discourse. The practical value of the research lies in varied analysis of concepts and empirical research which shed light on the connection between self and self image and the implications of these phenomena; for example for pedagogy; results in the class room; our moral and psychological strength, and “life skills” in the widest sense of the word”, Kristjánsson finally says.

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