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Experiential clarification of the problem of self

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This paper presents the pure consciousness theory of self, derived from Eastern meditation traditions, and uses it to unravel some of the paradoxes of Western philosophical models of the self. The theory is ontologically neutral and compatible with the widest variety of different ontologies. However the theory does, I think, have significant implications for questions of personal identity, emotional maturity and moral values, but exploring these topics here would take us too far afield. The article attempts to show something of the potential value for our traditional philosophical discussions of self of taking into account the pure consciousness experience, widely discussed in Eastern, but not Western, philosophical traditions. For if the phenomenological analyses are even roughly correct, it would appear that the experience is capable of resolving some major Western issues about self, clarifies our commonsense intuition, and is properly identified by philosophical analysis as being experience of self itself.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2025, USA.

Publication date: May 1, 1998

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