I am almost finished reading Parfit’s Reasons and Persons, and I think his conclusions about the self (person) in society and as individual are valid; I have long questioned the self-interest theory of philosophy but only on an intuitive basis as I am no philosopher, merely a student of the discipline.
What strikes me after having read this lengthy and rationally-argued book is that there are so many ways philosophical reasoning does actually intersect with that “most irrational” of impulses, art.
Here is a lovely excerpt from poet David Ignatow, from an essay he wrote in 1971:
“There is no contravening another person’s sense of himself and his world. We must accept it on his terms, though we need not accept it for ourselves…men and women have discovered themselves as individuals, and that this sense of individuality is something among them…In affirming themselves, they affirm all others.”
He later adds that poetry “is formed by the terms with which the person sees himself.”
It seems to me that Ignatow possessed an excellent understanding of the psychological and emotional as well as the rhetorical aspects of poetry–indeed, of any art.