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My primary area of interest is Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and Philosophy of Mind, particularly in relation to their interface with issues in Analytic Philosophy.
The cogency of a non-egological approach to self and phenomenal personhood.
Dr Sonam Thakchoe
It is my claim that “self” or “persons” do not possess any kind of absolute ontological status. In other words, the appearance of an objective referent of a self, person or “I” are non-existent imaginaries. Moreover, any notion that an invariant property of any kind is that which binds diachronic and synchronic first-person experience is an incoherent thesis, and like-wise a non-existent imaginary.
However, I will claim that despite this it is still possible to posit self, persons and I, existing, in a sense truly, as mere contingent phenomena within the framework of a kind of dynamic system. I will do this by arguing that what is being rejected here is not the existence of self or persons, but rather the existence of (1) a non-fabricated objective agent of experience, (2) any notion of an invariant or variant property of any kind, at any level of discourse which is the “self” or is acting as a “self” and (3) intrinsic identity at any level. I will thereby show that from within the framework of conventional discourse, phenomena such as persons are merely contingent, and that this schema leaves intact functional first-person experience.
Authorised by the Acting Head of School, Humanities
15 October, 2012