Who Are We? Some Answers From Modern Philosophers

Thomas Hobbes:

We are a mechanism, a collection of material parts that are attracted to some things, and repelled from others.

Rene Descartes:

We are a thinking thing, a mind.

John Locke:

We are perceiving things, the locus of sensation.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

We are transcendental. We take in the whole world, and the world is us.

Immanuel Kant:

We are both part of the natural (causal) world, and we are free beings, above the causal world.

G. W. F. Hegel:

We are in the process of developing into self-conscious beings, and at the same time we are shaping the world to look like us.

Karl Marx:

We are producers and consumers. We are products of the economic forces in the world.

Friedrich Nietzsche:

We are story-tellers. We write fiction, and we are the main character in our novel.

Martin Buber:

We are defined by how we regard others. There is no "I" by itself, but always an I in relation to what we are engaged in, and who (or what) we are engaged in it with.

Sigmund Freud:

We are the conflict of our unconscious, given rational form by our conscious mind.

Martin Heidegger:

We are the only ones who can ask the question "who am I?" and pursue a variety of answers.

Jean-Paul Sartre:

We are nothing. We have no definition, but rather define ourselves by our actions.