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The Self

What are some of the differences/similarities between the avocado and artichoke views of the self?

Avocado is a green-skinned, yellow flesh fruit and has a seed at its center. The seed at its center is often very large and, when dried and planted, can produce an entire new avocado tree with more fruits. The Artichoke is a flower head of a similarly named plant. The flower comprises numerous layers that will leave nothing if all are peeled off. The Artichoke has no core, and hence, once the layers are peeled, it ceases to exist. A layer of Artichoke cannot produce a plant of a similar kind. In the avocado view, a person is viewed as having a stable and enduring self at one’s core. In the artichoke view, a person is viewed as being a protean with a stable core that is not enduring (Mitchell, 2018).

What is the core essence human beings are said to share?

Two examples of the avocado viewpoint are Judaism and Christianity traditions. In both views, the traditions assert that humans are imperfect yet are created to serve God and love Him while at it. Similar to avocados, human beings on the outside appear ordinary, while at the core of a person’s heart, they are divine. God is sought from the heart. Just as an avocado’s main purpose lies in its core, the seed, to produce a similar kind of fruit, so too are human beings. Humans are truly what is in their core (heart) and not what is viewed on the outward physical self. Human beings are created in God’s likeness, which makes every person special (Marajan, (n.d.).

What is the relationship between human and divine nature?

The artichoke viewpoint with regard to human nature is where a person is believed to exist with no particular purpose (Marajan, n.d.). Society makes people adapt to the changes it makes. When there are constant changes in society, human beings adapt by adding layers to their lives, character, and being. In the same way that an artichoke has a base but no core, so too do human beings; they use the bases to help in choosing life paths. The bases also help persons to direct their individual conduct in life. Examples of Artichoke viewpoints are described in expressions such as ‘we are gonna die anyway,’ ‘Carpe diem,’ or ‘You Only Live Once.’ People with the artichoke viewpoint have no conduct of what is wrong or right, have no rules that govern their lives, and sometimes have difficulty making decisions. This is because such people have no core or guiding principles in their lives. Such people believe that every person determines their individual fate, has a right to make choices and takes responsibility for the same.


Mitchell, H. B. (2018). Roots of Wisdom: A Tapestry of Philosophical Traditions. Cengage Learning.

Marajan, N. (n.d.). Avocado and Artichoke view of self.


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Week 2 Discussion

Discussion Topic: Do I Have a Core Essence?

The Self

The Self

The purpose of this discussion assignment is to reflect upon your understanding of different historical and philosophical approaches to the self. After completing your readings, write a 2–3-page paper explaining the avocado/essentialist idea of the self. Remember to explain specific theories with supporting citations from the textbook and online lectures. (Here is a guide to help you with APA-style citations.). Review and comment on the posts of other students and the instructor by the end of the week.

As you develop your response, you might find some of the following questions to be relevant:

    • What is the core essence human beings are said to share?
    • What are some of the differences/similarities between the avocado and artichoke views of the self?
    • What is the relationship between human and divine nature?

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