Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


Humans construct their identity by constantly measuring themselves against and creating themselves around culturally ingrained systems of rules governing the social, the political, and perceptions of the physical. I call a system of rules a “syntax.” When a syntactical system is broken, a monster is born. Our monsters are the litmus and definition of our selves. Using Michel Foucault’s Abnormal lectures to inform my theory of the self as “syntax,” I posit that it is essential to understand the monster in order to exert social change and it is essential to understand what a monster is in order to understand oneself.

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