Abstract: A widespread interpretation of Buddhist thought concerning the self makes a prominent place for the claim that there is no self. This claim is motivated, in Buddhist philosophy, by the idea that if there were a self it would have to be a permanent entity that would be a "bearer" of individual psychological states, but that since there is no such permanent bearer, there is no self. This comment challenges a core assumption of this line of thought, namely the idea that if the self existed it would have to be one single entity. An alternative is offered wherein the self is understood as being a plurality. But even though it is different, this suggestion has a lot in common with Buddhist thought. Thus, the aim in this article is not to reject Buddhist philosophy; rather, its suggestion is seen as being helpful to this type of line of thought by freeing it from an unnecessary burden, namely the assumption of the singularity of the self.
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 25, 2017
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