2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

Don’t Break Character: Defending and Revising Elisabeth Camp’s Character Model of the Self


Kimberly R. Ramos
Dr. Chad Mohler and Heather Cianciola, Faculty Mentors

From practical and existential standpoints, it is hard to argue that the self is not important. However, recent neuroscience research tends to disavow the existence of an underlying, temporally existing self. It claims there is no underlying self that exists over time and endows one with a sense of “I.” The purpose of this project is to offer a literary model of selfhood that preserves a sense of “I.” The self, as we will later discuss, is a fiction, albeit a fiction we cannot live without. Thus, we should look to literature, a discipline ripe with selves, for some direction. Elisabeth Camp, a philosopher at Rutgers University, considers first the narrative model for constructing a self, though she ultimately rejects it. In its place, she offers the character model. While I find Camp’s character model promising, I believe it still needs some refinement before we can embrace it.

Keywords: selfhood, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, literary selves, narrative model of self, character model of self, bundle theories, interdisciplinary

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Face-to-Face Oral Presentation

Session: 302-6
Location: SUB Activities Room
Time: 2:45

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