Is the Self an Illusion?

October 13, 2022

Is the self just a fiction we create to make sense of a complicated world?

Most of us think it’s obvious that we have a self, but famously, both Buddhism and British philosopher David Hume are skeptical that such a thing exists. What in the world could it mean to deny that the self exists? Could ‘the self’ just refer to a series of perceptions and feelings we have over time? If so, then whose perceptions and feelings are they? Is there any way Buddhism could have influenced Hume’s thinking on the illusory nature of the self? Josh and John question theirselves with Alison Gopnik from UC Berkeley, author of The Philosophical Baby and "How David Hume Helped Me Solve My Midlife Crisis."