Conclusions: From self-knowledge to a science of the self

Jacek Debiec, Joseph E. Ledoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional accounts of the self represented in religion, literature, philosophy, and other branches of the humanities, are grounded in the subject's personal introspections. This source of knowledge has had a profound impact on terminology, concepts, and theories of the self. By contrast, the scientific method, which uses observational and experimental data, is aimed at objective analyses. The scientific approach to the self, by its very nature, is distinct from the approach in the humanities, and therefore reveals a different view of the self, and sparks new debate about what the self really is. Moreover, different scientific disciplines, spanning the natural and social sciences, investigate different levels of organization, leading to a multifaceted scientific picture of the self. This conference and volume explored areas where some of the different approaches to the self overlap and will, it is hoped, promote the establishment of a richer, more coherent image of what the self is.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 2003


  • Brain
  • First-person account
  • Humanities
  • Science
  • Self
  • Third-person account

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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