From the Delusion to the Dissolution of the Ego

Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 18:35-48 (2008)
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Abstract

Certainly many in “Western” philosophy and psychology have conceived of the human subject in the Cartesian or neo-Cartesian tradition, as a self subsisting, self identical, monadic consciousness or Ego, which is to say as an essentially unchanging, substantial subject, initially isolated or separate from the world and others. On the other hand Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu and other “non-Western” traditions, adopting a more holistic approach, have argued that such a reified,atomistic and hypostatized conception of the self is illusory. However, suggesting that from at least since the time of Hume, and later, in Hegel, there has been an alternative “Western” view of consciousness, self-consciousness and identity, the development of which can be traced through the Phenomenology, Existentialism and Poststructuralism of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida and others, the paper attempts to show how this evolving view may now contribute to a sophisticated and nuanced understanding and confirmation of the wisdom of “non-Western” conceptions.

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Simon Glynn
Florida Atlantic University

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