Version: v1, Published online: 1998
Retrieved February 22, 2020, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/self-realization/v-1
‘Self-realization’ is the development and expression of characteristic attributes and potentials in a fashion which comprehensively discloses their subject’s real nature. Usually, the ‘self’ in question is the individual person, but the concept has also been applied to corporate bodies held to possess a unitary identity.
What constitutes the self’s ‘real nature’ is the key variable generating the many conceptions of self-realization. These can be grouped broadly into two types: (1) the ‘collectivist’, in which the self-realizing lifestyle, being either the same for all or specific to a person or subgroup of people, is ultimately definable only in the context, and perhaps with reference to the common purposes, of a collective social body; (2) the ‘individualist’, in which a person’s self-realization has no necessary connection with the ends of a particular community.
As an ethic, self-realization can be proposed as the means to achieve a life identified as good by some criterion independent of the self-realizing process, or held to be that which actually defines the good. Its critics typically argue that human nature is such that any equation of ‘self-realization’ and ‘goodness’ is implausible or undesirable.
Evans, Mark. Self-realization, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L091-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/self-realization/v-1.
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