Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Gassho to Alluman for the book.
Analytical Buddhism: The Two-Tiered Illusion of Self - Miri Albahari
The author, a lecturer in philosophy, argues that there is no self, drawing on Buddhism, Western philosophy, and neuroscience.
It is not unusual for Western philosophers to deny existence to the self. Following Hume and James, such philosophers have denied the self existence by treating as illusory its supposed unity and unbroken persistence. These qualities are deemed mere fictions, borne from imagination and acting upon a bundle of discrete thoughts, feelings and perceptions. In this book, Albahari also denies existence to the self, but with a new twist: unity and unbrokenness are argued to be real qualities native to consciousness. Consciousness merges with desire-driven thought and emotion to create the impression of a separate and unified self; separateness, not unity, makes the self illusory. Albahari draws this "two-tiered" model of the self-illusion from Canonical sources in Theravada Buddhist literature, augmenting it with research from neurology. Since scholars usually ascribe a "bundle theory" of no-self to Buddhism, Albahari offers a fresh perspective on this central Buddhist "no-self" concept.