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1. an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
2. Philosophy that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
3. a bird, animal. etc., that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


a mental construction of the person, by the person, but inevitably formed from social experience. Thus the person sees him/herself reflected by others, in their reactions, and these are interpreted through the lattice of self-perception. MEAD (1934) is particularly associated with this idea of the self as being a social construction; self cannot exist without society – the self is where knowledge resides, but the knowledge is about society, which surrounds it. Theorists such as Mead and COOLEY (see SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM, LOOKING-GLASS SELF) and some sociologists also emphasize the REFLEXIVITY and creativity possessed by social actors. This view of the self and self-identity contrasts sharply with conceptions of DECENTRED SELF recently to the fore within POSTSTRUCTURALISM (e.g. LACAN).

The 'self also receives varied formulation within PSYCHOLOGY and PSYCHOANALYSIS (see EGO-PSYCHOLOGY, OBJECT RELATIONS SCHOOL, LACAN).

The concept of self is particularly important to developmental and HUMANISTIC psychologists. Humanistic theorists (e.g. MASLOW, 1954) see the goal of the individual as SELF-ACTUALIZATION. (See also SOCIAL IDENTITY, PERSONALITY).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in philosophy, the expression of the unity and identity of individual self-consciousness. The self is one of the basic structures of the individual personality as related to other individual personalities—for example, “you” or “we.” It is the central category in various systems of idealist philosophy, such as that of J. G. Fichte.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about yourself?

To encounter one’s self in a dream indicates that one has come face to face with issues and needs that can no longer be ignored.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A small, dynamically typed object-oriented language, based purely on prototypes and delegation. Self was developed by the Self Group at Sun Microsystems Laboratories, Inc. and Stanford University. It is an experimental exploratory programming language.

Release 2.0 introduces full source-level debugging of optimised code, adaptive optimisation to shorten compile pauses, lightweight threads within Self, support for dynamically linking foreign functions, changing programs within Self and the ability to run the experimental Self graphical browser under OpenWindows. Designed for expressive power and malleability, Self combines a pure, prototype-based object model with uniform access to state and behaviour. Unlike other languages, Self allows objects to inherit state and to change their patterns of inheritance dynamically. Self's customising compiler can generate very efficient code compared to other dynamically-typed object-oriented languages.

Version: 3.0 runs on Sun-3 (no optimiser) and Sun-4.

["Self: The Power of Simplicity", David Ungar <> et al, SIGPLAN Notices 22(12):227-242, OOPSLA '87, Dec 1987].
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in periodicals archive ?
In the first study, the researchers established a relationship between facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and general self-interest, demonstrating that men with higher fWHRs behaved more selfishly when dividing resources between themselves and a partner.
London: Jose Mourinho has told his players not to act selfishly in his second spell as manager of Chelsea otherwise there will be "big trouble" at Stamford Bridge.
Now police are hoping the public's loathing for the effect caused by the thefts will result in information which will bring justice to those who selfishly put their own cause before that of society.
They are hoarding, or sitting on, huge sums of money, selfishly refusing to stimulate the ailing economy by putting their wealth into circulation by creating jobs.
People who selfishly pursue their own desires lose their life in a futile search for happiness.
The judge that the USD4bn sale of Del Monte Foods saw the investment bank manipulating the sale process 'secretly and selfishly.' Del Monte, which makes pet foods and canned vegetables, had agreed to be purchased by a private-equity consortium.
During the school holidays, capable Mackenzie is frequently left alone to deal with Granddad's bizarre and increasingly dangerous behaviour as ballet-obsessed Tahlia selfishly follows her own concerns.
"I think, even almost selfishly, the best way we can give back to ourselves is by giving to others and doing so it always removes the separation between us."
Instead of getting jail-worthy drunk by selfishly sampling these recipes alone, I enlisted the entire editorial staff (nine, in total) for a blind taste test of each one.
May I ask, however, that the police also pay the same attention to the vehicles selfishly parked and double-parked in the City Gardens, Sloper Road, Virgil Street and Carlton Gardens areas of Grangetown?
"Tourists can contribute toward the preservation of life on our planet and slow down the process of climate change or they can pursue a kind of insane narcissism that selfishly ignores recognising the earth is at risk."
The study said natural selection suggests individuals should act selfishly to survive, so this is a rare example of co-operative behaviour in the animal world.