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The Oedipus Plays of SophoclesPhilosophical Perspectives$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190669447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190669447.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 October 2020

In the Ruins of Self-Knowledge

In the Ruins of Self-Knowledge

Oedipus Unmade

(p.65) Chapter 3 In the Ruins of Self-Knowledge
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles

Garry L. Hagberg

Oxford University Press

Oedipus Tyrannus is an exacting study in philosophical psychology, portraying a mind that oscillates between competing conceptions of the sources of knowledge, between layered self-deception and moments of self-knowledge, and between competing self-narratives or self-descriptions. This essay explores the philosophical significance of this play by examining these inner tensions as they manifest in thought, word, and deed. This significance is described in terms of a self gradually becoming able to imagine itself and to describe itself in ways initially believed to be the imagining and describing of an unknown other, where a kind of “spectral presence” by steps becomes ever closer to the mind of Oedipus. This culminates at the final point where that imagined presence comes to correspond identically and tragically with the uncovered self that is the true Oedipus.

Keywords:   Oedipus, Teiresias, self-knowledge, Wollheim, imaginative understanding, self-description, psychic division, self-deception, narrative selfhood

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