Hume on the Self and Personal Identity

(ed.)
Palgrave-Macmillan (2022)
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Abstract

This book brings together a team of international scholars to attempt to understand David Hume’s conception of the self. The standard interpretation is that he holds a no-self view: we are just bundles of conscious experiences, thoughts and emotions. There is nothing deeper to us, no core, no essence, no soul. In the Appendix to A Treatise of Human Nature, though, Hume admits to being dissatisfied with such an account and Part One of this book explores why this might be so. Part Two turns to Books 2 and 3 of the Treatise, where Hume moves away from the ‘fiction’ of a simple self, to the complex idea we have of our flesh and blood selves, those with emotional lives, practical goals, and social relations with others. In Part Three connections are traced between Hume and Madhyamaka Buddhism, Husserl and the phenomenological tradition, and contemporary cognitive science.

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Dan O'brien
Oxford Brookes University

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