Self, No Self?: Perspectives from Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions

OUP Oxford
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The nature and reality of self is a subject of increasing prominence among Western philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists. It has also been central to Indian and Tibetan philosophical traditions for over two thousand years. It is time to bring the rich resources of these traditions into the contemporary debate about the nature of self. This volume is the first of its kind. Leading philosophical scholars of the Indian and Tibetan traditions join with leading Western philosophers of mind and phenomenologists to explore issues about consciousness and selfhood from these multiple perspectives. Self, No Self? is not a collection of historical or comparative essays. It takes problem-solving and conceptual and phenomenological analysis as central to philosophy. The essays mobilize the argumentative resources of diverse philosophical traditions to address issues about the self in the context of contemporary philosophy and cognitive science. Self, No Self? will be essential reading for philosophers and cognitive scientists interested in the nature of the self and consciousness, and will offer a valuable way into the subject for students.
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About the author

Mark Siderits is Professor of Philosophy at Seoul National University. He received his BA from University of Hawaii and his Ph.D. from Yale University. His work is situated in the intersection between analytic metaphysics and classical Indian philosophy. He is the author of Indian Philosophy of Language (Kluwer, 1991), Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy: Empty Persons (Ashgate, 2003), and Buddhism as Philosophy (Hackett, 2007). Evan Thompson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He received his B.A. from Amherst College in Asian Studies and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. He is the author of Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2007) and Colour Vision: A Study in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Perception (Routledge Press, 1995). He is also co-author of The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (MIT Press, 1991). Dan Zahavi is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen. He obtained his Ph.D. from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1994 and his Dr.phil. (Habilitation) from University of Copenhagen in 1999. He was elected member of Institut International de Philosophie in 2001 and of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in 2007. He has served as president of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology in the years 2001-2007, and is currently co-editor in chief of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. In his systematic work, Zahavi has mainly been investigating the nature of selfhood, self-consciousness and intersubjectivity.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jan 31, 2013
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780191668302
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Eastern
Philosophy / Mind & Body
Philosophy / Movements / Analytic
Philosophy / Movements / Phenomenology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

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Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. 

In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.

Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it.

Praise for Antifragile

“Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist

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A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain.

Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate—either in the waking state or in a lucid dream—we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self.

Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.

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