Conceiving of Personality

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Overview

The quest to comprehend the essence of human nature is as old as the capacity for reflective thought. In this provocative book, Dr. Michael Robbins proposes a new approach that draws upon psychoanalysis but is shaped by awareness of the limits that the particular circumstances of historical epoch, Western culture, male gender, and modal population from which psychoanalysis was derived imposed on its modernist claims to being a universal theory. Dr. Robbins addresses these limitations from the perspective of philosophy of science, focusing on the paradigm shift from logical positivism to the postmodern emphasis on pluralism and on relativistic, contextual, evanescent knowledge. He examines the implications of this shift for neuroscience, psychoanalysis, gender studies, anthropology, and sociology. After considering whether typical personality has changed over time, he studies the cross-cultural diversity of human nature, the relationship of gender to personality, the spectrum of personality variability within Western culture, and the relationship of the contextual embeddedness of the conceiver to his or her theory. He then proposes a dialectical conception of personality based on systems and chaos theories that respects its multiple guises and circumstantial richness of content without abandoning the quest for universal principles.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300064223
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Can We Conceive of Ourselves? Three Instances of Theoretical Conversion 10
3 A Brief History of Conceptions of the Person 27
4 Monistic Thinking and Modal Constructs 37
5 Constitution-Bound: The Neurobiological Basis of Personality 52
6 Ethnocentrism: Culture, Local Knowledge, and Universal Truth 62
7 Psychoanalysis as an Indigenous Psychology 76
8 Indigenous Psychologies of the East and West: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism 91
9 Gender, Personality, and Culture 100
10 Psychoanalytic Monism and Intracultural Diversity 115
11 How Models Become Movements: The Ideological Dimension 133
12 Summary of the Monism-Pluralism Debate 140
13 Systems in Transformation: A Model for the Dialectic between Discovery and Creation 145
14 Modeling the Dialectic between Discovery and Creation 154
15 Conceiving of Personality: The Warp and the Woof 169
References 175
Index 197
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