Richard Sorabji presents a brilliant exploration of the history of our understanding of the self, which has remained elusive and mysterious throughout the spectacular development of human knowledge of the outside world. He ranges from ancient to contemporary thought, Western and Eastern, to reveal and assess the insights of a remarkable variety of thinkers. He discusses a set of topics which are at the heart of our understanding of ourselves: personal identity;
memory; the importance of seeing one's life as a whole; the relation between self, intellect, will, and agency; self-awareness; the stream of consciousness; embodiment; death and survival. He rejects the view, found in various philosophical and religious writings, that the self is an illusion, and
develops his own original conception of the self as essential to our ownership of our experience and our apprehension of the world.