- Contrary to what almost everyone thinks, there is no such thing as a persisting, separate, individual self1.
- Westerners have often regarded this view, known as the doctrine of no-self (anatta/anatman), as the most intriguing and important claim made by the Buddhist2 philosophical tradition. One promising way to understand the doctrine is to compare it to the work of those contemporary analytic philosophers who have rejected the belief in a substantive self – most notably Derek Parfit.
- As a result, scholars of Buddhism have now produced a significant literature on the relation between the view about personal identity developed by Derek Parfit3 and the ideas expressed in various Buddhist texts. Writers who have considered this question, such as Siderits, Williams, Giles, Stone, Duerlinger, and Perrett, take different substantive and interpretive positions, but most of them agree on the structure of the debate.
- According to the majority of these writers, the key interpretive task usually is to determine which of two positions any given Buddhist school was trying to defend: Reductionism4 or Eliminativism5. Although there is general agreement that these are the two available options, there is quite a bit of disagreement about what the positions are.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)