Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 20

Investigations of the Self By Joel J. Kupperman Philosophy East and West Vol. 34 (1984) pp.

37-51 Copyright 1984 by University of Hawaii Press Hawaii, USA There is room for philosophical essays that review, explore, and connect without argumentatively developing a thesis. This is such an essay. In what follows I shall not state or argue for any definite conclusions regarding the self. My goal instead will be to map philosophical territory and to point out problems and, by implication, possible directions for future work. There is a special justification for this in relation to the self. The nature of the self, and of our acquaintance wit it, has been a major topic within Asian philosophy, especially Indian philosophy. In the last few years there has been a great revival of interest in the topic within Western philosophy, and important work has been published that challenges the empiricist consensus. Views of such philosophers as Butler, Reid, and McTaggart have been revived. This creates a clear opening for work that relate Asian and Western views of the self. Asian philosophy always has been relevant of course; but current Western philosophical work on the self especially lends itself to relation and comparison. I Established wisdom regarding the self in Anglo-American philosophy of the past fifty years has been founded on David Hume's "bundle theory." Hume's answer to the question, "Do I have a self?" was characteristically, "No and yes." In Section 6 of Part IV of Book I of the Treatise, Hume remarks that There are some philosophers who imagine we are every moment conscious of what we call our self; that we feel its existence and its continuance in existence; and are certain, beyond the evidence of a demonstration, both of its perfect identity and simplicity. [1] But there is no impression from which such an idea can be derived; anyone who searches his or her consciousness will find no constant item corresponding to "the self." Even if there is no self as an abiding subject of experience, however, Hume suggests that one can continue to speak of the self in terms of the collection of impressions and ideas a person has, including in one's conception the memories and personality patterns that bind these together. Annette Baier has argued

that throughout the Treatise Hume reveals "the way in which coherent self-consciousness is achieved in a mind which, with help of mirroring fellowminds, becomes 'all collected in itself.'" [2] To most students of philosophy, Hume's arguments against the self as a constant entity, strictly identical with itself, seem devastating and irrefutable. There are, however, some vulnerable points. Someone who holds that there is a self in the sense that Hume denies might also claim that a clear and self-aware experience of this self is not easily obtainable. Perhaps special training is required, which Hume lacked. Some mystics might compare Hume's failure to the failure of someone on a Sunday outing to note features of the surroundings that a trained naturalist would observe Alternatively, it could be argued that experience registers changes -- the movement, appearance, or disappearance of objects within a field -- and that something as constant as the self simply could not be an item of experience. There is the obvious question also about Hume's looking for and failing to find his self. What was doing the looking? This last difficulty points to a major complication in the nature of consciousness: namely, that it comes in layers. One can have thoughts about one's thoughts, and thoughts about one's thoughts about one's thoughts, and so forth. It is largely because of this that Gilbert Ryle spoke of "the systematic elusiveness" of the concept of "I." [3] At the root of this systematic elusiveness, as Ryle saw it, is the impossibility of self-reference and therefore of a person's giving an account of himself or herself that would be complete. Ryle insisted that any performance "can be the concern of a higher order performance, but cannot be the concern of itself..." [4] This may seem to provide a quasi-logical refutation of claims that a person has (or is) a constant, strictly selfidentical self. But even if it is valid, at most Ryle's argument refutes the claim that Bloggs can provide a complete description of everything that is true of Bloggs. If Bloggs' self is not the totality of what is true of Bloggs, but rather, as it were, the kernel of what is true of Bloggs, then Ryle's argument has less force. If it turns out that Bloggs' experience of his self can be nondual -- that is, lack a distinction between subject and object -- then Ryle's argument may have no force at all. We will return to this point in our discussion of the Upani.sads. Underlying both Hume's and Ryle's radical accounts of the self is the conservative assumption that personal identity -that you are the same person you were yesterday -- is in practice determinable without any difficulties of the sort

that cannot, at last in principle, be overcome by more information. You may have changed your appearance, so that I do not recognize you. But given adequate information I can know that it is you. Our concept of personal identity is workable and in its way perfectly adequate; the philosophical difficulties concern merely how we analyze or explain it. This optimism about the concept of personal identity, though, has been challenged by a number of philosophers in the last dozen years. Probably the most influential challenge has been Derek Parfit's. [5] Parfit raises cases in which, he argues, questions of personal identity are in principle unanswerable. Suppose that your brain is divided, and each half is put in a new body. Both resulting people have your character and memories. Which is you? Suppose that two people fuse, both physically and psychologically. With which of the original people should we consider the resulting person to be identical? What about beings whose lives are such that only temporally close segments have any appreciable psychological connection to one another? Do we regard such a being as having a single self, or rather a succession of selves? These puzzle cases are disturbing in their own right; but they also help to undermine our conception of personal identity as applied to more ordinary cases, because the psychological connections in our own lives that give us the sense of a continuing personal identity turn out to be only matters of degree. [6] If Parfit is right, then we cannot avoid holding an even stronger version of Hume's position. Not only is there no self as an abiding subject of experiences, but also even the concept of a person -- say of Richard Nixon or Beverly Sills -- looks like an artificial, strained, and somewhat misleading construct. The person-concept is readily applicable in ordinary cases, but not in the cases that Parfit brings up; and even in the ordinary cases it leads us to presume a unity and continuity of life experience that the facts generally do not support. It is fair to say that the deconstruction of the self that I have been describing remains the orthodox view among British and American philosophers. But in recent years there have been some interesting and important challenges. Roderick Chisholm has been a persistent challenger. In Person and Object (1976) Chisholm contends that we know ourselves directly and immediately and that "whenever a person thus knows something directly then he may be said to have direct knowledge of himself." [7] The ultimate object of acquaintance is one's individual essence or haecceity. [8] In The First Person (1981) Chisholm withdraws the latter claim, but continues to insist that first person claims have a unique character such that the "propositional theory of belief" does not apply to them. [9] Chisholm's argument that the primary form of all reference is reference to oneself draws heavily on earlier

work of Castaneda, which has been contested by, among others, Boer and Lycan. [10] The most important and persuasive recent challenge to the empiricist consensus regarding the self is contained in Geoffrey Madell's The Identity of the Self (1981). Madell points out, I think correctly, that the self cannot be discussed adequately apart from issues of philosophical method, so that standard empiricist assumptions must be questioned anew. One of these assumptions concerns the kinds of experience that can be taken as providing reliable data. Our "irresistable inclination to posit a subject" of experience, Madell contends, is not derived from grammar, but from "Features of experience." "If I consider my experiences at the present time ... one thing which is absolutely clear is that these various experiences do not come to one as a sort of pontilliste scatter of 'I' thoughts..." [11] Is there any reason, apart from dogma, not to allow this as evidence? Another standard assumption of empiricism is that scientific evidence can provide the basis, at least in principle, for a complete account of the world. But such a scientifically based account will leave out at least one fact -- which, among the person and objects described, happens to be me. People do, of course, change through their lives. Someone who holds that there is a constant, strictly self-identical self must admit this, and will have difficulty in placing any limit on the changes: the alternative is to admit the ambiguities and concept- dissolving cases pressed by Parfit. Thus, Madell says, I can describe my present total psychological state, and include ... what my personality traits are... I can now begin to imagine my present psychological state ... to be different in this or that respect... Now it is very difficult indeed to see how there could be any limit to the degree of difference which is allowable. It would be odd to suggest that, in imagining one's psychological state to be different to more than a certain degree, what I am imagining is a state of mind which is not and cannot be mine... [12] This seems to me to be absolutely faithful to the commonsense conception of the self. I can imagine myself as very different from what I am: at the movies one has no difficulty in identifying with the bank robber on the run, and one's revulsion toward sadism seems based partly on the fact that one could be that kind of person. Could I be Napoleon (one of Madell's examples) or a frog (my example)? Why not? I could imagine myself, rather in the manner of the film Heaven Can Wait, waking up in the year 1800 in a body that was identifiably Napoleon's, with all my memories and present psychological characteristics, and then experiencing a gradual

change of my personality to that historically associated with Napoleon. In much the same way, it would seem that I could experience dying, waking up in the body of a frog, and gradually finding myself thinking more and more of cool water and catching flies. Or perhaps the change would not be so gradual! These last remarks should be taken as pre-analytical. Repeatedly one must not take claims regarding the self at face value, but must ask, "What does this mean?" and "How does one know?" One of the virtues of Maxell's excellent book, however, is that he convincingly shows that the possible repertoire of answers to "How does one know?" is not exhausted by what empiricism sanctions. Waking from a night's sleep, you generally do know immediately, without resort to empirical procedures, who you are. Also, as Sydney Shoemaker remarks, "when I remember that I broke the front window yesterday, no criterion of identity is involved in the judgment that the person who broke the front window was I." [13] It may be that in some more fantastic cases you also could know who you are, or that it was you who had done such-and-such, in a comparable way. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that there is no fact of the matter in cases in which, because of amnesia, senility, or a complete access of frog-consciousness, you do not know who you are. But here again one must bear in mind, not only that there may be a fact of the matter above and beyond whatever evidence there is, but also that there is room for puzzlement as to just what the fact of the matter amounts to. What is this self that I will continue to have (or be) when I become senile, and that I could retain even upon becoming a frog? II Madell, agreeing with McTaggart that "I" is a logically proper name, contends that "what it picks out is something which is known by acquaintance, and cannot be analyzed or described." [14] Chisholm in Person and Object analogously had suggested that to have any feeling is to be acquainted with one's self and to know of one's self-identity. [15] This suggests a further step in investigation of the self. One could examine just how it is that one can be acquainted with one's self, and whether there are situations in which the acquaintance is especially close or provides an especially clear view of what the self is. This is an examination that neither Chisholm nor Madell provide To take this logical next step, one can best turn to the varied and rich materials of classical Indian philosophy. A word of caution, though, is in order. What I will offer is not a scholarly explication of texts taken within the framework of their intellectual tradition: this is something that scholars such as Dasgupta, Deutsch, and

Kalupahana have done far better than I possibly could. Rather my approach will be to take classical texts as offering answers to questions that naturally arise today. This inevitably is anachronistic and does violence to texts by wresting them out of their contexts in traditions; but one hopes that the violence is not great and that it may be redeemed by the gain of a different perspective on what is already familiar. Let us assume for the sake of further argument that Madell is right that we have the same strictly self-identical self throughout our lives. Let us assume further that indeed we are acquainted with ourselves. This further assumption is a natural one. After all, we are acquainted with events in our mental lives, and it is in the course of such acquaintance that the idea of the self develops and becomes a familiar part of our mental life. Virtually all of our self-awareness can be expressed in sentences on the order of "I felt..." and "I did..." If the self of our old age is the same as the self of our childhood, then it cannot be identical to our empirical personality. Neither can it be regarded as a sum of elements some of which are elements of empirical personality. For then it would become different as empirical personality changes. It is true that we speak of some things as remaining the same even while becoming different: a table can be the same table even if we paint it and cut the legs shorter. But in the case of the table, the question naturally arises as to what our criteria for sameness are. Also, is sameness here a matter of degree? Can there be borderline cases, or cases in which different perspectives give conflicting but equally valid judgments? If something like this were true of the self, then we are well on our way to deconstruction of the self. It is because of this that Chisholm endorsed Bishop Butler's view that, while familiar things such as peaches or tables persist only in a loose and popular sense (that is, are logical constructions), persons persist in a strict and philosophical sense. [16] Common sense would seem to support the view that, in some sense, I am absolutely the same person who did suchand-such twenty years ago, and that this judgment does not rest on conventions of identity in quite the way in which judgments of the sameness of tables do. If we are to pursue this line of thought, then we must exclude from the self all the elements of waking mental life which, as Hume pointed out, change from hour to hour. There is a separate justification for this. As Harry Frankfurt has pointed out, it is implausible to say that our waking life is entirely self-caused, or self determined, or even that it entirely pertains to ourselves. Some thoughts just pop into our heads. Are we active or passive with regard to them?

Certain events in the history of a person's mind ... has their moving principles outside him... A person is no more to be identified with everything that goes on in his mind ... than he is to be identified with everything that goes on in his body. [17] If this is true of ordinary waking life, then it is even more true of dreaming, which, in addition, is subject to changes answering to variations in experience during the days preceding dreams. This leaves us, in our search for the self, with dreamless sleep and perhaps as well with certain experiences within waking life that are entirely selfcontrolled and are not subject to change from one occurrence to another. In other words, we now are in a position to see how natural it is, as a result of logical reflection on the common sense concept of the self, to say (as in the Chaandogya Upani.sad) that "when a person has entered into deep sleep ... he becomes united with Pure Being (sat), he has gone to his own Self." [18] The Pra`sna Upani.sad echoes this point. "But when the mind is overcome by its own radiance, then dreams are no longer seen; joy and peace come to the body" [19] Dreamless sleep has more than changelessness to recommend it. We should recall Ryle's systematic elusiveness of the "I." I cannot be acquainted with my self, if Ryle is right, in any mental event that involves a duality of subject and object, for then I will not be included in the object of acquaintance. But if the primary form of acquaintance with the self is nondual, this difficulty is obviated. Thus, as many commentators have pointed out, a working assumption in many of the Upani.sads is that the true self reveals itself only in experiences that involve nonduality. [20] Dreams and ordinary waking life, of course, involve duality; dreamless sleep does not. Dreamless sleep thus may seem, within the experience of most people, not only a strong candidate but perhaps the only candidate for a state that provides acquaintance with the self. But there are difficulties. We would normally assume that acquaintance with the self is something that we experience. Can we be said in any sense to experience deep sleep as opposed, say, to falling into it? Elliot Deutsch's reconstruction of Advaita Vedaanta includes the claim that in deep sleep there is consciousness, even if there are no objects. After all, afterwards there is a sense of what it was like. [21] This claim seems peculiarly difficult to evaluate. Some of the difficulties are philosophical: even if one rejects as narrowly positivistic the challenges that Norman Malcolm brought to bear in the 1950s on the claim that dreams are mental events, similar challenges may seem to have more force in relation to the claim that dreamless sleep includes mental events (or is a mental event). [22] Other difficulties

may arise out of individual differences. It is not clear to me that my dreamless sleep includes mental events, but perhaps the dreamless sleep of a trained mind is of a different order. A deeper difficulty for the thesis that dreamless sleep provides one's primary acquaintance with the self is brought, out in Part VIII of the Chaandogya Upani.sad. When Prajaapati tells Indra about the self as what one encounters in dreamless sleep, Indra immediately realizes that the self in dreamless sleep "does not know itself as 'I am it' ..." [23] This is very telling. Any adequate account of acquaintance with the self must include the fact that we know when we are acquainted with the self. Therefore acquaintance with the self must occur, after all, within waking life. But it cannot involve the duality of ordinary waking experience or dreams. It must be a fourth state (after the triad of ordinary waking experience, dreams, and dreamless sleep). Its nonduality implies that the self cannot be characterized in any way; to relate it in any way to anything else, even merely relating it as different in character, would be to objectify the experience and introduce duality. Following the logic of this, the Ma.n.dukya Upani.sad characterizes turiiya (the fourth state) as "not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world... It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable, and indescribable ... It is the cessation of all phenomena..." [24] The self one encounters, of course, is aatman. The requirement, which seems to follow with some plausibility from the common sense conception of the self -- that aatman be stripped of what changes from one day to the next -- has further implications, If aatman does not contain what distinguishes me today from me yesterday, then it also cannot contain what distinguishes me today from you today. If one makes the further assumption (denying Chisholm's distinction) that objects such as peaches and tables are like persons in having strict self-identity, then there is nothing also to distinguish my aatman from whatever provides the strict selfidentity of a peach or a table. Even if one balks at this, the logic of aatman (which, remember, can not be characterized) forbids me to distinguish myself qua aatman from a peach or a table. Thus it would seem to follow that aatman is Brahman. This conclusion is sometimes regarded as merely an expression of a peculiar bent toward nondualistic metaphysics of early Indian philosophy, but it equally can be regarded as a natural inference from the common-sense view of the self. The Ma.n.dukya Upani.sad, in describing turiiya (the fourth state), may well leave the impression that it can be obtained only as a result of special training and discipline. This

leads to a view expressed very clearly in the Yoga-Suutra of Pata~njali. On the removal, i.e. on the dissolution, of this also, i.e. of the meditation where there is distinct recognition of an object, when all the modifications of the mind have been resolved into their causes (or sources, as a jar, when broken, is resolved into the earth which it was made of), so that there arises merely a continuous train (of thought, selfproductive), thereupon, as there is nothing but the negation 'This is not', 'This is not', meditation appears with relinquishment of the seed; on which taking place, the Soul is said to abide in its own nature, pure. alone, emancipated. [25] Someone with a properly trained mind can be acquainted with, and can know, the self. There are two reasons why one cannot take this as the final word on the subject, firstly, that would suggest that yogic special experiences give the final, objectively correct view of what the self is. But the notion of an objective final truth here can be queried. It has been pointed out by Steven Katz and others that the content and seeming results of mystical experience depend heavily on the nature of the mystic's preconceptions and training. [26] It has been too readily assumed that all meditative roads lead to the same destination. Secondly, we must bear in mind that we started with the common-sense conception of a constant, strictly self-identical self. Included in this is the assumption, which seems plausible enough, that all of us are acquainted with our selves. But most of us do not have yogic training or skills, Even if it is true that yogic experience provides a clear and definitive acquaintance with the self, it must be true also that there are other forms of acquaintance with the self that are accessible to everyone without special effort and that occur naturally. One possible response to this difficulty is to maintain that everyone is acquainted with the self, but that most people are deceived about its true nature. To use an image that `Sa^nkara uses, it is like being acquainted with a rope but thinking that it is a snake. [27] This still leaves the problem of the duality of ordinary waking experience, but solutions are available. One might be to insist that when the ordinary person is acquainted with the self, that which views the self is not essentially part of the self. Another solution (which would seem to be `Sa^nkara's) might be to insist that what the ordinary person is acquainted with is merely an aspect of the self. In either case, the ordinary person's view of the self is an instance of adhyaasa, "the unreal assumption

about the attributes of one thing as being the attributes of some other thing." [28] In this erroneous view, finitude and change are superimposed on the self. The fact remains that the self-awareness of the ordinary person is, at the primary level, as waking, time-bound, enjoyment- seeking, and, consequently, as dissatisfied. [29] Elements of empirical personality, in other words, figure heavily in this widely shared experience of the self. It may seem very plausible, then, to construe the self in a manner very different from the Upani.sads: to construe it as closely related to the aggregates (khandhas) of empirical personality. The Questions of King Milinda conveys a view of the existence of the self which, like Hume's answers "No and Yes." It is careful to say that the self is not the sum of the elements of personality, but exists on account of them." [30] This leads to a conception of the self as not staying the same through a lifetime, but as having considerable continuity. [31] Kalupahana glosses Buddha's view as follows: A person is a "bundle of perceptions (sankhaarapunja) or a group of aggregates (khandha), not discrete and discontinuous, but connected and continuous by way of causality..." [32] There is a further line of interpretation that is, I think, not incompatible with this. The self can be regarded as a construction to unify the khandhas and as a creative construction. Something like this line of interpretation can be found in the work of Kant and Sartre. Sartre indeed places the creation of self in early childhood, quoting a passage from Richard Hughes' novel A High Wind in Jamaica, which he says illustrates very well "the fortuitous and shattering advent of self- consciousness." [33] For Sartre this is a phenomenon of reflecting consciousness which, insofar as it is consciousness of itself, is nonpositional (that is, nondualistic) consciousness. The reflective act gives birth to the me in the reflected consciousness. [34] Kant's account of the self is notoriously complex, and in a brief discussion one can do no more than indicate outlines, major assumptions, and perhaps loose ends. The central insight is that the concept of "I" is necessary for there to be coherent empirical awareness. "The bare representation 'I' in relation to other representations ... is transcendental consciousness." "It must be possible," Kant says, "for the 'I think' to accompany all my representations." [35] The "selfconsciousness" which generates the representation 'I think' cannot itself be accompanied by any further representation.... The unity of this apperception I likewise entitle the transcendental unity of self-consciousness in order to indicate the possibility of a priori knowledge arising from it. [36]

This analysis of the role of self within empirical knowledge is entirely consistent with the major claims in Madell's book, and if true it might help to account for the curiously blank character of what the self is supposed to be. It is interesting, then, that Chisholm, in Person and Object, places Kant on the Opposing side (that is, on the same side as Hume et al.) in the debate concerning the self. [37] The reason is that Kant denies the possibility of acquaintance with the self that Chisholm, and also Madell, assert; more fundamentally, Kant does agree with Hume in rejecting the self posited by metaphysicians. This self cannot be an item of experience, and there is no reason to think that it exists. Kant provides a lengthy analysis of what he calls "rational psychology," which is built up from the transcendental concept or judgment "I think," and which treats the soul as a simple substance, strictly self-identical through time. But the concept of self as substance is, Kant says, "not empirically serviceable." [38] At most we can say that in psychology we "connect all the appearances, all the actions and receptivity of our mind, as if the mind were a simple substance which persists with personal identity..." [39] It should be noted that Madell's position on this last point again does not conflict with Kant's. Madell denies Butler's and Reid's claim that the self is a substantial ego. [40]) The substantial nature of the self is thus, for Kant, at best a regulative idea. Strawson sums up very well Kant's line of thought here, saying that Kant attacks the doctrine that each of us, by the mere fact of conscious experience, knows that he exists as a Cartesian thinking substance, i.e. as an immaterial, persisting, non-composite, individual subject of thoughts and experiences... [41] Instead of the self of the metaphysicians, Kant (like Sartre later in the Transcendence of the Ego) posits a self that is constructed to unify empirical consciousness. Careless readers sometimes confuse this construction with the noumenal self. But it is distinct: transcendental consciousness lies on the phenomenal side of the noumena-phenomena distinction, and plays a part in the empirical account of the world. It is also best viewed as a relationship (among the elements of empirical consciousness) -- or, more accurately, as that in virtue of which there is a relationship -- rather than as a thing. Kierkegaard is very much in the spirit of this side of Kant's thought when, at the beginning of The Sickness Unto Death, he says that The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation (which accounts for it) that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the

relation but (consists in the fact) that the relation relates itself to its own self. [42] Sartre's view is somewhat like Kierkegaard's, with the notable difference (among others) that he does not believe in a God who can anchor the unstable and essentially incomplete self. Sartre's account of the transcendental ego is sometimes misinterpreted as more purely negative than it is. [43] This, however, is not all of Kant's story. Kant does speak of the noumenal self as well as of transcendental consciousness. Much of the talk is negative: "We know our own subject only as appearance, not as it is in itself." [44] But note the suggestion or an assumption that each of us has exactly one and only one (unknowable) noumenal self: because the criteria for individuation that are available to us are all phenomenal, Kant is not entitled to that assumption. The assumption of the single noumenal self per person is especially evident in Kant's discussion of freedom and morality, as when he says that there is no contradiction in supposing that "one and the same will is, in the appearance ... necessarily subject to the law of nature, and so far not free, while yet, as belonging to a thing in itself, it is not subject to that law, and is theretofore free." [45] As George Schrader remarks, Kant "never meant to hold that the self of the theoretical reason and the self of the practical reason are two separate and distinct entities. It is one and the same object considered from two perspectives." [46] There are two ways of looking at this. One (Schrader's) is to view Kant as, after all, succumbing to dogmatic metaphysics. The other is to say that Kant knew more than his own philosophy allowed that he could know: that he had some dim sense that in the ultimate nature of reality he had a strictly selfidentical single self after all. From either point of view, Kant's account of the empirical self as a synthesis also can be criticized as containing unargued assumptions. First of all, there is the fact, recently noted by Patricia Kitcher, that Kant nowhere defines the relation of synthesis. [47] Furthermore, recent work by Judith Thomson, Barry Stroud, and Richard Rorty on transcendental arguments (such as Kant's that there must be a unified empirical self) shows that these arguments are at best what Rorty calls "parasitism" arguments. They show nothing about what must be real, but only that certain concepts can be used meaningfully only if we have certain other concepts. [48] Even if we grant that we can have coherent empirical awareness only if we have the concept of the empirical self, that we are able to construct this concept needs further explanation. Any proffered explanation must be scrutinized closely, then, to see if it does not, in effect, assume what it is meant to explain.

Thus Kant, in a famous passage, says, Only in so far as I can grasp the manifold of the representations in one consciousness, do I call them one and all mine. For otherwise I should have as many-colored and diverse a self as I have representations of which I am conscious to myself. [49] The question naturally arises: In virtue of what does one have the single consciousness in which the synthesis occurs rather than a number of consciousnesses? One solution might be that offered by Strawson: "... the notions of singularity and identity of souls or consciousness are conceptually dependent on, conceptually derivable from, the notions of singularity and identity of men or people." [50] This is close in spirit to David Wiggins' (later) arguments that the concept "same person" can be understood only in relation to the more primitive concept "same animal." [51] One could, however, imagine that within one animal there might be a many- colored and diverse array of consciousnesses. Indeed something like this occurs in the well-publicized cases of people with multiple personalities, if something like this but more extreme were a general phenomenon, then presumably we would not have (could not have) the concepts of self and of person that we have. (At the other extreme, if we were intelligent termites, perhaps a large number of us would share one self?) At the most fundamental level, the difficulty for any view that regards the self as a created synthesis has been well put by `Sa^nkara, criticizing the Buddhists. If the self is, as both the Buddhists and Kant say, a synthesis of elements of empirical consciousness, then it cannot be explained how the synthesis is brought about. "For the parts constituting the (material) aggregates are devoid of intelligence, and the kindling (abhigvalana) of intelligence depends on an aggregate of atoms having been brought about previously." [52] As we have seen, Kant merely insists that the synthesis must be brought about, which is not the same as explaining how it is brought about. Part of the difficulty is that, as is clear in Kant's account, if items are to be judged as pertaining to the same self, they must first be brought into relationship with one another to be considered for such a judgment. For the self to be synthesized, there must be a single consciousness, or something very like it, and one may ask what makes this possible? Part of the difficulty also is that the construction of a self would seem to require an intelligence, and again one may ask what makes this possible.

III What can we say by way of conclusion? It would be foolish now to offer the correct view of the self; whatever is correct is certainly not clear on the basis of what thus far has been presented, and perhaps philosophers should keep open minds on this issue. We can recognize that major alternatives are open and that each of the major alternatives has both attractions and disadvantages. It is tempting to say that there are two major alternatives: a "substance" view of the self and a "no substance" view. Along these lines, one might line up the positions of the Upani.sads, Advaita Vedaanta, Butler, and Reid on one side, with the early Buddhist philosophers, Hume, Sartre, and most contemporary analytic philosophers on the other side. Because of his talk about the noumenal self Kant would be impossible to classify, and Madell (because of his denial of a substantial ego) would have to be lined up with the Buddhists, Hume, Sartre, et al. This seems to me not to be a useful division. Kant is surely right in regarding the idea of the self as substance as not "empirically serviceable," nor is it clear what metaphysical point it makes. What, after all, do we mean if we say that the self is a substance? Does this amount to anything more than the claim that I am the same person that I was twenty years ago, a claim with which Buddhist philosophy, Hume, and Sartre can certainly agree? As cited in D. J. O'Connor's article on substance in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Aristotle's fourth criterion of substance is that "while remaining numerically one and the same, it is capable of admitting contrary qualities." [53] Virtually no philosopher would deny that the self can pass this test. Instead, it seems to me that a useful dividing line between opposing views would be as follows. One either can hold the self to be constructed to unify elements of empirical consciousness or can regard it as having a primitive, matterof-fact unity. Those with the latter view would tend to claim that we are acquainted with the self. Those with the former view would tend to deny this. The view that the self has a primitive, matter-of-fact unity, which gives it strict self-identity through time, has one very strong ground of support. It accords well with the view of prephilosophical common sense. This counts in its favor especially if one thinks of philosophy as an attempt to harmonize and render coherent common-sense or instinctual beliefs. One major strain within phenomenology can be

interpreted as the project of putting a frame around the classifications or judgments we are all inclined to apply to our experience; and it is no accident that Husserl says that "I am present to myself continually as someone who perceives, represents, thinks, feels, desires, and so forth..." and that he is willing to speak of "pure Ego." [54] On the other hand it can be argued (as by Sartre in a breakaway phenomenological tradition) that a closer look at the nature of self-awareness does not support the view of prephilosophical common sense. The major difficulty is that we want to say that we are acquainted with our selves, but when we are asked to tell what the content of the experience was and what the self was revealed to be, the report either peters out or becomes incoherent. A major liability of the commonsense view of the self, in other words, is that it has so little to say for itself. Major liabilities of opposing views (such as those associated with early Buddhist philosophy, Hume, and Sartre) include firstly, that they go against the bent of prephilosophical common sense, and secondly, that one cannot, strictly speaking, disprove the existence of an aatman merely on the basis that it does not occur in ordinary selfconsciousness in the manner in which one stipulates it should occur. Thus we must face the possibilities that one or the other of the two major alternative views could be true without there being conclusive evidence or argument that it is true. There is, finally, a third possible outcome. It might be true, as Oxford philosophers used to say about realists and (ontological) idealists, that the two sides to the issue about the self are playing tug- of-war with a nonexistent rope. This conclusion would certainly seem to follow from the point of view of the Maadhyamika school of Buddhist philosophy, or from the contemporary position most akin to it, conceptual idealism. [55] From this point of view, neither a conceptual structure that included a constant, strictly self-identical self nor one that denied such a self could claim to mirror any absolute reality. Even if one is a follower of the Madhyamika school or a conceptual idealist, though, the issue may recur on another level. Even if the absolute truth in this and other matters is unformulatable, unknowable, or nonexistent, one might ask which formulations or points of view the facts more readily lend themselves to. To allow this question is akin to the middle position in the contemporary philosophy of science, which denies that any scientific theory can be a definitive conceptualization that mirrors absolute truth about the world, but also insists that conceptual arrangements provided by some scientific theories are inferior to those provided by others or are flatly inadequate. [56] Adopting such a position, one

can turn again to the facts of self-awareness, and ask what view of the self seems to fit them most clearly and naturally, bearing in mind that the facts themselves are subject to interpretation.

NOTES The author wishes to thank Geoffrey Madell, Joel Marks, Jerome Shaffer, and Samuel C. Wheeler III for comments on a first version of this paper. 1. David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature (London: J. M. Dent, 1951), vol. 1, p. 238 (italics Hume's). 2. Annette Baier, "Hume on Heaps and Bundles," American Philosophical Quarterly 16, no. 4 (October 1979): 295. 3. Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1949), p. 186. 4. Ibid., p. 197. 5. Derek Parfit, "Personal Identity," Philosophical Review 80, no. 1 (January 1971): 3-27. 6. Parfit suggests correctly that his discussion of personal identity has important ethical implications. See also his "Later Selves and Moral Principles," in Alan Montefiore, ed., Philosophy and Personal Relations (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973). What is primarily at stake is a metaphysical foundation for altruism. Other, related, issues in ethical theory turn on whether one can regard the value of a life as simply equal to the sum of the values of its moments. For discussion of what is involved in a negative answer, see A. W. Price, "Aristotle's Ethical Holism," Mind 89 (1980), and my The Foundations of Morality (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), chap. 6. 7. Roderick Chisholm, Person and Object (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1976), p. 24 (italics Chisholm's). 8. Ibid., p. 29. 9. Roderick Chisholm, The First Person (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), pp. 21-22, 1, 14- 16, 43-44. 10. Cf. H. N. Castaneda. "He: A Study in the Logic of SelfConsciousness," Ratio 8 (1966); "Indicators and Quasiindicators," American Philosophical Quarterly 4, no. 2 (April

1967): 85-100: "On the Logic of Attributions of SelfKnowledge to Others," Journal of Philosophy 65, no. 15 (August 8, 1968): 439-456; Steven E. Boer and William Lycan, "Who, Me?" Philosophical Review 89, no. 3 (July 1980): 427-466. 11. Geoffrey Madell, The Identity of the Self (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1981), p. 33. 12. Ibid., p. 18. 13. Sydney Shoemaker, "Personal Identity and Memory," in John Perry, ed., Personal Identity (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1975), pp. 124-126. See also the selections from Bishop Butler and Thomas Reid in the same anthology, especially pp. 102 and 110; also John Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett, 1978). p. 19. 14. Madell, Identity, p. 123. 15. Chisholm, Person and Object, pp. 30-31. 16. Ibid., p. 97. 17. Harry Frankfurt, "Identification and Externality," in Amalie Rorty, ed., The Identities of Persons (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 240242. More than one reader of the first version of this paper has queried my argument here. One question is whether we can infer from the way in which some mental episode is caused that it is not truly part of the self. But the answer is, as Frankfurt suggests, that mental events that present themselves as removed from our agency also present themselves as quasi-alien and as at best peripheral to what we are. Geoffrey Madell in correspondence has suggested that one can hold the view that personal identity is strict and not a matter of convention without excluding from the self all changing elements of consciousness. The changing elements can be said to have the unchanging property of being mine. Thus he doubts that the doctrine of aatman to be found in the Upani.sads is implied by strict self-identity plus the facts we have noted. In this he is surely right. My claims are merely that (1) if the self has strict self-identity, and if selves are distinct from one another, they can be distinguished from one another only in the way Madell indicates; and (2) to distinguish selves solely on the basis that one set of experiences is "mine" and another set "yours," without further analysis, is to base a doctrine of the individuation of the self on something mysterious -rather like the "haecceity" of the self that Chisholm seems to have given up on; and thus, (3) if the self has strict selfidentity, it is plausible to conclude that one self cannot be

distinguished from another. In short, the doctrine of aatman, while not implied, is a natural and reasonable position to adopt, given the starting points of the argument. 18. The Upanishads, trans. Swami Nikhilananda (New York: Bonanza Books, 1949), vol. 4, p. 306. 19. The Upanishads, trans. J. Mascaro (Harmondsworth, London, England: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 72. Cf. also The Vedaanta Suutras of Badarayana with the Commentary by `Sa^nkara, trans. G. Thibaut (New York: Dover Books, n.d.), vol. 2, p. 145; hereafter cited as `Sa^nkara. 20. See, for example, (Cambridge: Cambridge Luyster, "The concept origins and symbols," (January 1970): 58. Surendranath Dasgupta, Indian Idealism University Press, 1962), p. 13; Robert of the self in the Upanishads: Its Philosophy East and West 20, no. 1

21. Eliot Deutsch, Advaita Vedanta (Honolulu: East-West Center Press, 1969), p. 61n24. 22. Cf. Norman Malcolm, Dreaming (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959). 23. The Upanishads, trans. Swami Nikhilananda, vol. 4, p. 386. 24. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 236. 25. Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, trans. J. R. Ballantyne and Govind Deva, 4th ed. (Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1960), p. 36. 26. Cf. Steven Katz, "Language, Epistemology, and Mysticism," in Katz, ed., Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978). 27. `Sa^nkara, vol. 1, p. 324. 28. Deutsch, Advaita Vedaanta, pp. 33-34. 29. Ibid., pp. 55-56. 30. The Questions of King Milinda, trans. T. W. Rhys Davids (New York: Dover Books. 1963), vol. 1, pp. 44-45. 31. Ibid., pp. 63-65. 32. David J. Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy, A Historical Analysis (Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1976), p. 39.

33. Jean Paul Sartre, Baudelaire, trans. Martin Turnell (New York: New Directions, 1950), p. 19. 34. Jean Paul Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego, trans. Forrest Williams and Robert Kirkpatrick (New York: Noonday Press, 1957), pp. 44-45. 35. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1965), A 117, p. 142n, B 131, p. 152. 36. Ibid., B 132, p. 153 (italics in text). 37. Cf. Chisholm, Person and Object, pp. 41-45. 38. Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, A 341-342 and B 399400, p. 329; A 349, p. 334. 39. Ibid., A 672 and B 700, p. 551 (italics in text). 40. Madell, Identity, p. 134. 41. P. F. Strawson, The Bounds of Sense (London: Methuen, 1966), p. 162. 42. Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969), p. 146. 43. For a useful corrective, see Arthur Danto, Sartre (New York: Viking Books, 1975), pp. 55-56. 44. Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, B 156, p. 168. 45. Ibid., B xxviii, p. 28 (italics in text). Cf. also Strawson, The Bounds of Sense, p. 174. 46. George Schrader, "The Thing in Itself in Kantian Philosophy," in Robert Paul Wolff, ed., Kant (London: Macmillan & Co., 1967), p. 173. 47. Patricia Kitcher, "Kant on Self-Identity," Philosophical Review 91, no. 1 (January 1982): 61. 48. Ibid., p. 62; cf. Judith Jarvis Thomson, "Private Languages," American Philosophical Quarterly 1, no. 1 (January 1964): 20-31; Barry Stroud, "Transcendental Arguments," Journal of Philosophy 65, no. 1 (May 2, 1968): 241-256; Richard Rorty, "Verificationism and Transcendental Arguments," Nous 5, no. 1 (February 1971): 3-14.

49. Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, B 134, p. 154 (italics in text). 50. Strawson, The Bounds of Sense, p. 168. 51. Cf. David Wiggins, Consciousness: And Men Persons; also Wiggins' Massachusetts: Harvard "Locke, Butler and the Stream of as Natural Kind," in The Identities of Sameness and Substance (Cambridge, University Press, 1980).

52. `Sa^nkara, vol. 1, p. 403. 53. D. J. O'Connor, "Substance and Attribute", in Paul Edwards, ed., The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1967), vol. 8, p. 37. 54. Cf. Husserl, Ideas, trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1931), pp. 104,172, 232-233. 55. Cf. T. R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, 2nd ed. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1960), and Nicholas Rescher, Conceptual Idealism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973). For discussion of some of the issues, see my "Is the Nature of Physical Reality Unknowable?" American Philosophical Quarterly 15, no. 2 (April 1978): 99-105. 56. This it seems to me, is the position taken by T. S. Kuhn. See his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed. (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. 1970), and "Reflections on my Critics," in I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave, eds., Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970).