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The concept of self, from a philosophical standpoint, addresses the matters of our existence as

human beings and our existence through time. It confronts the ultimate questions that arise about

ourselves such as, “Who and what am I?” “When did I begin and when do I end?” and “Am I still the

same person over time – even if a lot has already changed?” Unlike the other perspectives that take into

account the environment and the community the person belongs to in defining the self, the philosophical

concept is concentrated on the person’s individuality itself and his/her singularity relative to time. it is

solely self-reflective. Hence, it is the first level of the self.

The second level of the self, apart from it existing independently, is how it is influenced by

external factors. This is found in the anthropological discipline and the psychological discipline. The

anthropological view of the self states that the self exists as an individual and as a shared self (meaning

society influences the characters of a person and thus forms the “combined self”). Combined self or

Shared self is the collection of different identities as a result of interaction with others. It is formed

through language, socialization, culture, religion, etc. These identities together with the cohesive and

independent self forms the “self”.

On the other hand, the psychological view of the self is about being aware and having a self-

concept. The self in a psychological view reveals that people form their self-concept as they grow, based

on the knowledge they have and know about themselves. Self-concept is multidimensional and it

incorporates our own views in various aspects (e.g. social, religious, spiritual, physical, emotional). It

develops throughout the lifespan, and is most flexible in the early years. Biological and environmental

factors influences the theory of self-concept, but social interaction also plays a major role.

Sociology is the second to the last layer of the self. Sociology defines self as an embodied agent,

a knowledgeable, problem-solving actor which results from a continual engagement in a reflexive process

of social interaction. The reflexive process refers to the uniquely human capacity to become an object to

one’s self and to be both subject and object. This viewpoint of self urges us to see that everyone is

dependent on one another, that all of us are contingent in nature. Likewise, this viewpoint allows us to see

that we are all sociologically related to one another by serving a role in the society.
The political/citizenship point of view is at the outermost part of the figure - together with the

sociological view. The idea of citizenship has always revolved around the community. More than that,

citizenship is also about the self. As a citizen, we must first and foremost prioritize the idea of care for the

self and self-mastery. Being a member of a political community involves certain responsibilities and care

of the self is a reflection of our participation in that area. The idea of betterment of the self is more than

just about individuality, instead it also pertains to society.


Milo’s Case


Based on our framework, we can discuss the personality and character of Milo starting from the very core

which is the Philosophical view of the self. With the Philosophical view, one questions it’s existence and

whether or not it is real. Milo, then,

● knew that he is an unwanted child at the time of his conception.

● sometimes question himself whether he could be somebody else, thinking that if he was not the

conceived child, who could he be now.

● regrets and that he hopes that it was not ‘him’ so that he will not be the unwanted child.


Going from this realization at the core of his existence, another factor emerges into identifying oneself

and it is through the experiences and influences of others and the society. Milo was not surrounded by a

healthy environment and healthy people.

● parents are divorced

● a neglected child (His mother are regions apart from him and calls him only once a month. His

father is always away for work and doesn’t spend time with Milo whenever he can. To his father,
Milo can get by on his own and he leaves him money for food anyway. He intends to separate

from Milo when he turned 18.)

● Milo was always out with his friends even during wee hours of the night beyond the curfew.

● Milo considers his gangmates his surrogate family. He believes that he is safe and secured just to

hang out and do ‘stuff’ together. When asked what their usual activities were when they are

together, he said that they often drink alcohol and smoke marijuana together.

● He is close with his sisters and his mom. He was lonely when they got separated but his father

won’t let him go with them.


Because of these factors that runs deep from his core and is strengthen by society, he has forgotten his

responsibility and duty as a citizen since it was the reality he had as a child. His actions were the

reflection of the duty he learned from his experiences.

● has been a very problematic child in the neighborhood (vandalized the neighborhood, damaged

random cars in the parking lot, and shoplifted two convenient stores)

● has been absenting a lot from school

● Milo performs well in school before. (Milo aced a grade of A and B during elementary then C

and D on the latter years.)

● Milo does not seem to show remorse and that he does not seem to weigh the consequences of his

actions that much to cause him worry.

Therefore, it really starts in the core of the person or the Philosophical view of the person as to how he or

she sees himself. This view is strengthened or weakened by external factors which is the second level.

This is how society sees you and influences you and through this, you gain a sense of responsibility and
duty to give back to the society as a citizen. In the end, during the meeting, Milo realized that he needed

help and his duty to the society.

● At the end of the meeting he expressed his interest of rendering the community service for his

deviance. But he is worried that he might no longer be able to regain back his confidence in



Now, let us see another example to further elaborate the self and our framework.

Atty. Florin Hilbay is becoming the talk of the town due to his plan on running to be a senator in

our country. He is known as a very intelligent person due to his academic achievements such as topping

the Bar exams and finishing his Masters of Law from Yale School of Law. But aside from his

achievements and intellect, who is he, and how did he flourish to be the man he is now?

Hilbay was not born rich. In fact, he comes from very humble beginnings. His parents are

ordinary folks and he grew up in Tondo, Manila. His father finished high school, while his mother only


Florin's mother, Lydia, was very religious. She used to be a simple household helper; doing

household chores for other families. She also used to do buy-and-sell goods in Divisoria. Florin's father,

Rodrigo, on the other hand, was a messenger of telegrams and a master chess player.

He finished his Bachelor of Arts in Economics in the University of Santo Tomas (UST), got his

law degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) Law School in Diliman, topped the Bar exams,

and received his Masters of Law from the prestigious Yale School of Law. From Tondo to Yale, Hilbay’s

academic credentials are quite impressive. Poverty did not deter him from achieving his goals in life.

As we can see, Florin's family has had a very difficult life, but it made their relationship stronger.

They filled their stomachs with love, because that's the only thing they had to survive. But even so, Florin

became a man of success, and it's all because of his family and himself. What factors helped for him to

become the man he is now, though?

First, his philosophical self is well-nurtured. He knew in himself that his existence was a hapless

one; they are indeed poor as a rat, and that he himself was given nothing to actually live and climb his

way in life. However, he also knew in himself that he did not want to stay in a state like that, and that he

can climb up his way by using the only resource he had — his mind and his family.

Next is where the anthro-psychological layer comes in. Florin was surrounded by such a loving

and supportive family. He was well-fed with moral support by those near him. He grew with love and

affection; thus now as a senatorial candidate he speaks of peace and kindness. His family reaped

positivity; positivity then is what they sow. And this connects to the last layer, which is the socio-political


Now that all his layers are filled, Florin acts as a social force today. He interacts with people and

gives meaningful conversations to a lot. His socio-political self is well supported by the other layers, to

the point that he actually produces output from it, such as involving himself in the world of politics.

Therefrom it is evident that the last layer, the socio-political self, is working well, as he acts as a social

force and as a political agent which moves our countrymen.

All in all, our framework describes how our concept of “self” is shaped. From this framework, we

can see that we grow from our experiences. But more than that, we also see how we are also influenced

by the society. And we can see that it is through these experiences that we achieve self-actualization.

Achieving this however can be a life-long journey for some. It is when we have a better idea of our “self”

in different levels, that we can truly flourish as human beings..

(grasp the …)