Is there such a thing as a self, something that makes you who you are? Or is the self just a convenient fiction? Would the world be a better place if we all stopped believing in selves? These are some of the questions we're asking in this week's show.
What is it
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? The philosophers question their selves with Alison Gopnik from UC Berkeley, author of "How David Hume Helped Me Solve My Midlife Crisis."