Taking Oneself As Someone At All: Trauma, Recovery, and the Self
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In my dissertation, I use certain trauma narratives as a lens to critically examine certain theories in personal identity, recognition theory, and moral philosophy. I argue for a particular kind of self-understanding that I call “taking oneself as someone at all,” which I explain can go missing for someone who has undergone severe abusive trauma. One aspect of taking oneself as someone at all I discuss is the ability to see one’s life events in the past and present as each equally real. I call this ability having “temporal control,” and explain that survivors of abusive trauma with severe flashbacks lack this control, and instead, the traumatic past is privileged. The second aspect of taking oneself as someone at all is to be properly recognized by others; I argue that there is a basic kind of recognition, “therapeutic recognition,” which trauma survivors need in order to be able to develop and maintain trusting relationships with others. This kind of recognition entails listening to survivors’ descriptions of their traumatic experiences without judgment. Finally, I discuss the moral qualities of such trusting relationships and explain that what is present when someone can help a survivor take themselves as someone at all again is the willingness to be open and challenged by what another says.
SubjectTrauma, philosophy, self, personal identity, recognition theory, social philosophy, moral philosophy