The no-self theory: Hume, Buddhism, and personal identity

Philosophy East and West 43 (2):175-200 (1993)
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Abstract

The problem of personal identity is often said to be one of accounting for what it is that gives persons their identity over time. However, once the problem has been construed in these terms, it is plain that too much has already been assumed. For what has been assumed is just that persons do have an identity. A new interpretation of Hume's no-self theory is put forward by arguing for an eliminative rather than a reductive view of personal identity, and by approaching the problem in terms of phenomenology, Buddhist psychology, and the idea of a constructed self-image.

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James Giles
Roskilde University

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