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: This interdisciplinary study examines the emergence, rise, and decline of individualism as a central feature of the Western world view. Building on research into the concept of self, Daniel Shanahan argues that the seeds of individualism - "that system of beliefs in which the individual becomes the final arbiter of truth" - were sown in ancient civilisations where subjective consciousness first became apparent. He then traces the evolution of the Western self-concept through its various historical representations: the "analog self" of the Greeks and Hebrews; the "authorised self" of Augustine and the Christian era; and the "empowered self" of modernity. In Shanahan's view, the current collapse of individualism reflects growing skepticism about the capacity of the self alone to determine truth. These doubts can be attributed in part to the inherent tensions of a self-referential epistemology and in part to the increasing alienation of the individual from modern society. In a final chapter, Shanahan draws on cross-cultural and anthropological studies of non-Western cultures to show that alternatives to the individualistic paradigm not only exist, but may already signal the advent of a new world view based on the recognition of human interdependence.