Jack L. Sammons

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This talk about the self originated in comments made by Joshua Bishop. Josh was executed by the People of the State of Georgia on March 31, 2016. Now I have long puzzled over questions of the self, especially in the context as here of students and practitioners who are in the process of becoming professionals; so the issues were not new to me although I had never gotten very far with them. But Josh's comments, when I first heard them, seemed to me to be a uniquely reliable resource for returning to these issues again. He spent most of his life facing his death in the way that few of us ever do, living his life as he did in a place called "death" row surrounded by others for whom death was also a daily reality. In addition, Josh was moved by his crimes and his need to find meaning in his death, and thus in his life, to a constant reexamination of the issue of the unity and consistency of his own self. Was he still that nineteenyear- old kid who killed two people? His perspective on death then was a unique one; a Heideggerian perspective in which our lives are uncovered for us in facing our deaths, 3 for Josh lived with his death more honestly than most of us ever do. Because of this, his was also a unique perspective on what it means to be alive, what it means to exist as a "self."