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Symposium on the Non-Self

a series of talks by Various

These talks were given at the Symposium on the Non-Self. In this weekend we explored different Non-Self views from the perspective of both ancient Indian philosophy and contemporary philosophy of mind, and how they relate to Buddhist practice. Silavadin talks about a variety of possible (non-)self views: the narrative notion of self, Zahavi's two-tier model of the self, the reductionist self of Hume and the Abhidharmika's, the independently existing self of the Brahmanical schools and Descartes, and the Yogacara model of the self. Dhivan talks about some ways in which Buddhists deny the self: how the non-self teaching is presented in the Pali scriptures, followed by a discussion of the chariot argument, then by Vasubandhu's Yogacara notion of the self as a big mistake, and how Candrakirti critiqued both approaches from a Madhyamaka point of view. Matt Drage's focuses on French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault's attempts to excavate, from Western history since antiquity, a tradition of practicing various practices of self-transformation. Foucault calls these practices 'technologies of the self'. Matt shows how the analytical framework that Foucault sets out might help us to look at how we (as 'Buddhists' or otherwise) shape ourselves.