Abstract

The Cartesian conception of the self is of an essentially thinking thing, a robust "I," one that wills, feels, et cetera. This Cartesian self is often taken as opposed to the Buddhist conception of the self, which includes the doctrine of anatta, or "no soul." The Cartesian robust "I" is open to a criticism that, as opposed to one essential thinking thing, there actually exists a group of things being held together somehow, which constitutes the "I." This criticism is closely related to the Humean conception of the self as a bundle of perceptions and the Buddhist conception of the self as being made up of the five skandhas. However, there remains, even after the Humean and Buddhist critique, what I call the "Cartesian Intuition." This is simply the idea that if there is action taking place, there must be something performing the action. I argue that while the Humean conception violates this Cartesian Intuition, the Buddhist conception maintains it. Thus, while the Cartesian and Buddhist views of the self are usually seen as inconsistent, there is a very important sense in which they are compatible: they both maintain the Cartesian Intuition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 443-457
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-27
Open Access
No
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