Research on the topic of self has increased significantly in recent years across a number of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, psychopathology, and neuroscience. The Oxford Handbook of the Self is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that address questions in all of these areas. In philosophy and some areas of cognitive science, the emphasis on embodied cognition has fostered a renewed interest in rethinking personal identity, mind-body dualism, and overly Cartesian conceptions of self. Poststructuralist deconstructions of traditional metaphysical conceptions of subjectivity have led to debates about whether there are any grounds (moral if not metaphysical) for reconstructing the notion of self. Questions about whether selves actually exist or have an illusory status have been raised from perspectives as diverse as neuroscience, Buddhism, and narrative theory. With respect to self-agency, similar questions arise in experimental psychology.
In addition, advances in developmental psychology have pushed to the forefront questions about the ontogenetic origin of self-experience, while studies of psychopathology suggest that concepts like self and agency are central to explaining important aspects of pathological experience. These and other issues motivate questions about how we understand, not only "the self", but also how we understand ourselves in social and cultural contexts.