A Theory of the Relational Self: The Cumulative Network Model

  • Kathleen Wallace Hofstra University
Keywords: Relational Self, Personal Identity, Network


In this paper, I outline the cumulative network model of the self. This model articulates the self as relational, recognizing social relations as constitutive of the self. The theory (1) arises out of concerns about the individualistic paradigms of two main frameworks in the analytic philosophical literature on personal identity, namely, the psychological and the animalist approaches to personhood and (2) is explicitly inspired by feminist theories on relational autonomy and self. I argue that “relationality” is not only social, but that the self is relational throughout, psychologically, physically, biologically, culturally, semantically, as well as socially.  Hence, the self is a network of relations.  The model also aims to recognize that temporality or historicity is constitutive of the self, that the self is a process, not a static three-dimensional thing. Hence, the self is a cumulative network.

How to Cite
Wallace, K. (2019). A Theory of the Relational Self: The Cumulative Network Model. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 12(36), 189-220. Retrieved from http://www.humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/article/view/287