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Analytical Buddhism

The Two-tiered Illusion of Self

Analytical Buddhism by Miri Albahari
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It is not unusual for Western philosophers to deny existence to the 'self': that unified, separate, persisting thinker/owner/agent that we take ourselves to be. 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 (etc.) acting upon a bundle of discrete thoughts, feelings and perceptions. In this book, Miri 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 neurologist Antonio Damasio. Since scholars usually ascribe a 'bundle theory' of no-self to Buddhism, Albahari offers a fresh perspective on this central Buddhist 'no-self' concept.
Palgrave Macmillan; October 2006
250 pages; ISBN 9780230800540
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Title: Analytical Buddhism
Author: Miri Albahari