Investigating The Bundle View Of The Self Essays

1595 Words Apr 30th, 2016 7 Pages
Investigating the Bundle View of the Self
What are we? What kind of thing are human persons? An intuitive answer would be: we are whatever the subjects of our mental states are. To put it in an informal way, we are whatever that are thinking our thoughts. After all, René Descartes draws the famous conclusion that the only thing we can know for certain is that “I think, therefore I am.” Philosophers who agree with Descartes on that point have proposed various theories of personal ontology that aim to answer the question. Generally speaking, those theories identify persons with either material objects (such as brains and bodies), or immaterial objects (such as souls), or some combinations of both. Another radically different approach to the question is, however, to deny the existence of the self or human persons, thereby invalidating the question itself. Specifically, the Bundle View of the Self proposes that no person exists; all that exist are bundles of mental states. This may be hard to accept or even consider seriously because it contradicts our daily perceptions of ourselves too much. Nevertheless, as the brilliant (though fictional) detective Sherlock Holmes says, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” In this essay, I will flesh out the motivation for proposing the Bundle View of the Self and reply to some objections to it. Note that my objective here is not to prove that the Bundle View of the Self is…

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