The Self

A Thematic Compilation by Avi Sion

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Blog posts November 2017



Sections in each chapter


1.         Chapter One

1.         Consciousness is a Relation

2.         Kinds of Consciousness

3.         The Mind

4.         Popular Psychology


2.         Chapter Two

1.         Self or …

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1. Consciousness and the Mind


My purpose here is to propose a consistent framework and terminology for epistemology.


1.     Consciousness is a Relation

Consciousness is a specific, peculiar kind of relation between an entity like ourselves (called the Subject); and any ‘appearance’, ‘phenomenon’, ‘thing’ …

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2. Knowledge of Self


1.     Self or Soul

Nagarjuna, together with other Buddhists, denies the existence of a real “self” in man[1], i.e. that the “I” of each person is a soul or spiritual entity distinct from his physical body. This concept, referred to as the “atman”, was regarded in Indian (Hi…

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3. Affirming the Self


1.     To Be or Not to Be

One notable radical difference with ordinary thinking in our place and time is the Buddhist notion that we have no self. The Buddhist outlook stems from the position of Indian philosophy that all that we can cognize are dharmas, that is (in a primary sense) c…

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4. The Workings of Volition


1.     Cultural Context and Epistemological Considerations

My purpose here is to propose a theory of volition; or more precisely, a theory of the locations and sequences of its operation, because at this stage a formal definition of volition as a causal relation is still not ripe.…

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5. Confronting the Ego


1.     The Ego Abhors a Vacuum

It is interesting … to compare our … conclusion concerning ‘wanting’ as the driver of obsessions and compulsions, and the Buddhist principle that ‘desire’ is at the root of all human action (creating karma and thence further ‘desire’, in a seemingly endl…

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6. The Individual Self


1.     The Individual Self in Monism

Granting the Monist thesis [briefly described in the preceding chapters], we can understand that our respective apparent individual selves, whether they are viewed as souls (entities with a spiritual substance distinct from mind and matter) or as s…

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7. The Soul as Entity


1.     Not an Essence, but an Entity

Buddhist philosophers have stressed the idea of impermanence, with a view to deny the existence of “essences” in both the objective and subjective domains. However, an impermanent essence is not a contradiction in terms. This means that the questio…

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8. Ideas on the Soul


1.     The Self or Soul

As we saw in the examples of Hume’s psychological theories of generalization as habit and of causation as association of ideas, he tended in practice to engage in faulty induction (and of course, faulty deduction).

He synthesized from a little data or a su…

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9. Behold the Self


1.     Awareness of Self

The philosophical idea of Monism is of utility to meditation. When the philosopher proposes that matter, mind and spirit must eventually be One, he/she does so because this theory seems like a logical conclusion from all the data of experience and thought. But…

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10. Critique of the Buddhist Five Skandhas doctrine


In this essay, I critically comment on the Buddhist ‘five skandhas’ doctrine. This doctrine is attributed to the Buddha himself and considered as a core belief of Buddhism[1]. However, in my humble opinion, in view of its evident intellectual limitations, this doctrine should not be give…

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Main References


A Treasury of Jewish Quotations.  Joseph L. Baron, ed.  Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson Inc., 1996.

Bodhidharma.  The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma.  Red Pine, trans.  New York: North Point, 1989.

Brazier, Caroline.  Buddhist Psychology.  London: Robinson, 2003.

Bhagavad-Gita, The Song…

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