15:00-16:00 Prof. Mark Siderits (Seoul National University) “Subjectivity without a Subject? Buddhist Self- vs. Other-Illumination Perspectives”
16:00-17:00 Prof. Yumiko Inukai (University of Massachusetts) “Cognitive and Affective Accounts of the Self in Hume”
17:00-18:00 Prof. Mickaella Perina (University of Massachusetts)“Self and Others, Self and World: Difference, Relationality and Opacity”
Prof. Mark Siderits “Subjectivity without a Subject? Buddhist Self- vs. Other-Illumination Perspectives”
Those who deny the existence of a self must answer the following question: if it only appears as though there is a self, to what does it so appear? Some Buddhist non-self theorists tried to answer this question by claiming that every cognition has two aspects—an object-aspect and a subject-aspect. To the objection that the subject-aspect sounds suspiciously like a self (as the subject of experience), these Buddhists replied that the two aspects of a cognition are strictly speaking one. The result was a theory of cognition according to which the content of a conscious mental state is self-illuminating. Other Buddhists criticized this account on various grounds. In my talk I want to explore the prospects of the alternative other-illumination theory, according to which a mental state is conscious only insofar as its content is available for processing by other mental states. Would this make us all zombies? And are Buddhas really Robo-Buddhas?
Prof. Yumiko Inukai “Cognitive and Affective Accounts of the Self in Hume”
Most discussions of Hume’s views of the self focus on 1.4.6, “Of personal identity.” This section is the only section in A Treatise of Human Nature in which Hume offers an extensive discussion of the self. In that section, interestingly, Hume makes a distinction between two ways of dealing with the problem of personal identity: “as it regards our thought or imagination, and as it regards our passions or the concern we take in ourselves” (T 188.8.131.52). He discusses the former in Book 1, and the latter in Book 2. Hume clearly thinks that personal identity can be explained from two different perspectives. However, some might argue that there is inconsistency, or at least a gap, between his skeptical conclusion about the self reached in Book One and his appeal to the awareness of the self in his accounts of passions in Book Two. In this talk, I argue that the two views of the self in Book 1 and Book 2 are not inconsistent at all. The former is a minimal form of the self, the persisting self, and the latter, with the existence of the persisting self in place, arises with particular characters, sentiments, and narratives. I call Hume’s account of the self in Book 2 a “flesh and blood” account, because the self that emerges in Book 2 is not just a being with continuous existence (Book 1) but a particular, concrete individual that performs certain actions and has particular sentiments and characters.
Prof. Mickaella Perina “Self and Others, Self and World: Difference, Relationality and Opacity”
The concept of relation is central to conceptions of the self in Caribbean thought in general, and in Francophone/French Caribbean thought in particular. In this tradition identity is often conceived of as articulated to the other’s difference and the intricacies of subjective identification are understood in light of the Caribbean experience of colonization and creolization. This presentation addresses several debates regarding the existence of the self with an emphasis on relational conceptions of the self, the unity of the self (and threat to it), and opacity to others and to oneself.