Volume 2 · Number 2-3 · Pages 65–71
The Co-Emergence of Parts and Wholes in Psychological Individuation

Bernard Scott

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Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to provide a constructivist account of the “self as subject” that avoids the need for any metaphysical assumptions. Findings: The thesis developed in this paper is that the human “psychological individual,” “self” or “subject” is an emergent within the nexus of human social interaction. With respect to psychological and social wholes (composites) there is no distinction between the form of the elements and the form of the composites they constitute i.e., all elements have the form of composites. Further, recursively, composites may serve as elements within higher order composites. Implications for a rational theory of ethics are discussed. Original Value: The thesis contributes in a fundamental way to the research programme of radical constructivism by demonstrating that metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the “subject” are not an a priori necessity. Although the thesis in itself is not original, the paper offers a useful synthesis of ideas from a number of key thinkers in the disciplines of cybernetics, biology, psychology and philosophy.

Key words: psychological individuation, co-emergence, collective, self-consciousness, interpersonal interaction, theory of mind, conversation theory, conscience


Scott B. (2007) The co-emergence of parts and wholes in psychological individuation. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 65–71. http://constructivist.info/2/2-3/065

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