Chapter

The Self-Aware Animal

Mark R. Leary

in The Curse of the Self

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172423
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786756 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172423.003.0001
 The Self-Aware Animal

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This chapter examines the nature of self-awareness and the consequences of self-reflection for thought, behavior, and emotion. Attention is devoted to self-awareness in nonhuman animals (research suggests that other animals do not have the capacity to think about themselves as human beings do) and the question of when and why the human capacity for self-reflection evolved. The benefits of having a self (such as planning, introspection, and self-evaluation) are discussed before turning to the central theme of the book: that the same capacity for self-reflection that has led to the greatest human achievements also leads to the greatest human problems.

Keywords: self-awareness; self-reflection; introspection; self-evaluation; evolution of the self; animal self-awareness

Chapter.  9445 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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