What is a self? Merely a human being? Or perhaps a soul? Hume claimed he could not find a self when he looked within, only a succession of impressions.
Often we are told that spending time alone, meditating, taking the Meyers-Briggs test, or traveling abroad can aid us in our paths to "self-discovery." But to what lengths must any one person go to achieve this—to discover herself? And is there even such a thing as a "self" for one to discover?
In this fascinating TEDTalk, British philosopher Julian Baggini challenges the conventional idea that there is a core or essential "self" for each of us to find. According to him, we are not beings who have (and are thus external to) our opinions, beliefs, and memories, but are ourselves a compilation of all that we "have" and "are" -- our physical bodies, cognitive capacities, beliefs, desires, sensations, and experiences. Even the brain is a mere collection of independent processes, but it is because of the way that these processes relate that we feel a sense of self, he argues. That is, we "feel" more unified inside than we really are -- a phenomenon he terms "The Ego Trick."
Check the TEDTalk, "Is there a real you?", out here: