The self as learning process Klaus Prange
Summary: The concept of self (Selbst) tends to be presented in a variety of contexts, mostly without much deliberation and as something self-evident. In this article, the author shows how the semantics of the self have developed and spread through various disciplines since the eighteenth century. Although the meaning of the notion is often assumed to be self-evident, the article argues that it is in fact typified by an emptiness of meaning, which, in terms of pedagogy, is related to programmatic and ethical requirements. It discusses the difference between the program and the given, making it clear that the self is neither self-evident nor directly accessible, and arguing that it is the consequence of the process of finding oneself, which is by definition unfinished and infinite. It shows that this process can be pedagogically conceived of as learning, or more specifically as the negotiation between self-reference and external reference.