more from Ralph Cudworth

Single Idea 6231

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self]

Full Idea

This hegemonicon (self-power) always determines the passive capability of men's nature one way or other, either for better or for worse; and has a self-forming and self-framing power by which every man is self-made into what he is.

Gist of Idea

There is a self-determing power in each person, which makes them what they are


Ralph Cudworth (Treatise of Freewill [1688], X)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.132

A Reaction

The idea that we can somehow create our own selves seems to me the core of existentialism, and the opposite of the Aristotelian belief in a fairly fixed human nature. See Stephen Pinker's 'The Blank Slate' for a revival of the old view.