By M. Albahari
We spend our lives retaining an elusive self - yet does the self really exist? Drawing on literature from Western philosophy, neuroscience and Buddhism (interpreted), the writer argues that there's no self. The self - as unified proprietor and philosopher of recommendations - is an phantasm created through stages. A tier of certainly unified recognition (notably absent in ordinary bundle-theory money owed) merges with a tier of desire-driven innovations and feelings to yield the impact of a self. So whereas the self, if genuine, could imagine up the options, the concepts, actually, imagine up the self.
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Extra info for Analytical Buddhism: The Two-tiered Illusion of Self
6)5 The notion of percipience seems close to that of witnessing. It is suggestive of a knowing or observing quality to the mind, even if there is no personal 36 Analytical Buddhism: The Two-Tiered Illusion of Self ‘knower’ or ‘observer’ as such: an element of conscious apprehension, even if there are (as will be suggested) no objects to apprehend. 3. The mind of the Arahant is (intrinsically) ‘luminous’, involving percipience and witnessing This mind, O monks, is luminous, but it is defiled by adventitious defilements.
An enduring res cognitans). , the sense of self, will exist. 9 I underscore this point so as to avoid falling into the easy trap of saying or thinking that the sense of self is unreal or illusory, when actually meaning that the self is unreal or illusory. Now should the self turn out, contra Buddhism, to be real, then it would simply mean that the sense of self is best explained by a self that is sensed. , non-illusory). Distinguishing the self from the sense of self, then, gives us logical room to investigate whether a possibly ubiquitous sense of self is explained by an actual self – as it would subjectively seem to be – or whether, as Buddhism maintains, it is in fact explained by cognitive conjurers that trick us into believing we are such a self.
The nerves arguably suggest an implicit belief on the part of the apprehensive subject: a reflexive belief that the very same – and hence enduring – entity will give the speech and possibly make a fool of himself. It is a belief to which he need not, and probably will not, overtly subscribe. The fact that the content of such a belief must be figured out indirectly is, indeed, a further factor that renders unusual the belief pertaining to the sense of self. Normally, a simple act of introspection will be enough to lay bare the content of a harboured belief or assumption, for example, the belief that Sydney has a famous opera house.