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Are Selves Unreal?

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  • The Talk

    Are Selves Unreal?

    From Hume to Dennett, philosophers often claim that the self is an illusion, and neuroscientists and psychologists are inclined to agree. But are they wrong?

    Moral philosopher and "The UK's foremost scourge of scientific pretension" Mary Midgley (Guardian) debunks the establishment's attack on the self.

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Theodore Hoppe on 27/10/2014 6:01am

The previous comment of mine is a quote from the blog of Ben Goertzel.

In error I did not use the proper quotation marks.

Theodore Hoppe on 27/10/2014 5:58am

"Our Problematic Selves

The primary culprit of human suffering has often been identified as the “self” – meaning the autobiographical, psychosocial self; the self-model that each of us uses to symbolize, define and model our own behavior. One of the most commonly cited differences between normal human psychology and the psychology of “enlightened” spiritual gurus is that the latter are said to be unattached to their autobiographical selves – indeed they are sometimes said to have “no self at all.”

I think there is some deep truth to this perspective; but one needs to frame the issues with care. Any mind concerned with controlling a body that persists through time, has got to maintain some sort of model of that body and the behavior patterns that are associated with it. Without such a model (which may be represented explicitly or implicitly), the mind could not control the body very intelligently. Any such model can fairly be called a “self-model.” In this sense any persistently embodied intelligence is going to have a self."

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