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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


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).



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.

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.


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].
References in periodicals archive ?
Those who seek to confuse genuine selfishness with lone-wolf tribalism either have no understanding of what selfishness is or intend to pervert its meaning.
By suggesting that a select group's selfishness was driving the estate tax debate, Summers acknowledged that all tax cuts do not benefit all Americans equally, and that class is very much the defining issue.
But if both choose selfishness, each goes away empty-handed.
Although Herbert did not speak of the principle of rights as being grounded in the moral propriety of selfishness, he did express a remarkably positive view of selfishness.
In second place was selfishness followed by hypocrisy.
Few seem to mind its penchant for excusing selfishness and other generally appalling behaviour.
Instead, it's a claustrophobic study in backbiting and selfishness.
His stated purpose in writing is `to examine the biology of selfishness and altruism'.
His defense has been completely self-centered; his selfishness is, as Broder notes, "staggering.
Limbaugh's self-promotion, consciously purveyed and heavy with irony, is a prelude to a message of selfishness, the worst element of an otherwise engaging conservatism.
Computer simulations find that this strategy eventually outperforms tactics emphasizing tit-for-tat, selfishness, or cooperation alone, yet it facilitates a great deal of cooperation in its own right, assert zoologist Martin Nowak of the University of Oxford in England and mathematician Karl Sigmund of the University of Wien in Austria.
Driven to grief by seven acts of deep cruelty and selfishness, the emperor seeks to undo the one that pains him the most: the murder of his lover, Cusirimay.