The Philosopher's Autobiography

A Qualitative Study

by Shlomit C. Schuster


Examines philosophical autobiography as a literary genre and an alternative to Freudian psychoanalysis.

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January 2003


Pages 256
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/General

Throughout the ages philosophers have examined their own lives in an attempt both to find some meaning and to explain the roots of their philosophical perspectives. This volume is an introduction to philosophical autobiography, a rich but hitherto ignored literary genre that questions the self, its social context, and existence in general. The author analyzes representative narratives from antiquity to postmodernity, focusing in particular on three case studies: the autobiographies of St. Augustine, Rousseau, and Sartre. Through the study of these exemplary texts, philosophical reflection on the self emerges as a valid alternative to Freudian psychoanalysis and as a way of promoting self-renewal and change.

Table of Contents

ForewordIntroductionPhilosophy, Self-Reflection, and Life WritingPhilosophical Psychoanalysis and Qualitative ResearchThe Philosopher RebornThe Philosopher True to NatureThe Philosopher RevoltingEpilogue: New Selves for a New Day?BibliographyIndex



Shlomit Schuster brings an overwhelming breadth and depth of scholarship in philosophy, philosophical counselling, biographical studies, and qualitative research to her comprehensive and provocative work....[p]rovocative, imaginative, and scholarly. It is filled with new ideas and insights. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in understanding how philosophy and philosophizing have influenced the lives of Augustine, Rousseau, and Sartre.—Biography/Project Muse

It is likely to prove infinitely rewarding for anyone who is interested in learning more about the relationship between autobiography and philosophy--with all this entails for our understanding as existential psychotherapists of self-constructs.—Journal of Existential Analysis

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