chapter  9
17 Pages

On Being a Human Self

WithMark Okrent

Steven Crowell has asserted, “The kind of subject who can be an agent while being absorbed in the world is a self whose identity is normatively achieved not by overcoming the passivity in its nature in order to constitute itself as a unified person, but rather by overcoming its anonymity to take responsibility for its own self as a task.” In this chapter, I argue that if one fully appreciates the radical implications of the anti-Kantian Heideggerian view that human agents are “absorbed in the world,” then one sees that neither of the alternatives that are marked out in this quote offer an adequate picture of what it is to be a human self; one achieves a human self neither by overcoming the passivity in the agent’s nature nor by overcoming anonymity by taking responsibility for oneself as a task. This of course leaves open the issue of whether and how a human self is normatively achieved, an issue that is left unconsidered in this chapter.