Essay on Theory of self in Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
The theory of self in Vedanta is similar to that Buddhism in that both theories are impersonal, both theories contemplative parties and just like Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism asserts that everything is impermanent. The impermanence of thoughts, emotions, perception and many other things that arise and fall in human consciousness.
Advaita Vedanta are of the premise that self or rather soul (Atman) exists and it is a self-evident truth. On the other hand, Buddhism are of the premise that Atman is inexistent and instead An-atman or anatta (non-self) is self-evident. This is proclaimed amongst from the treatise as they do not believe that at the very core of humans and other living creatures is an eternal, absolute and essential soul. Buddhism, unlike Advaita Vedanta, asserts that there is no permanent soul or self in human beings. They dismiss this concept and any doctrine that comes with it, branding it as illusion (maya). The philosophical and ontological texts of Buddhism also denies the existence of self. Another contradiction is that while Advaita describes knowing one soul as identical with Brahman as the path to Nirvana, Buddhism defines nirvana as the blissful state of a person when he or she realizes that he or she has no soul.
Descartes or Princess Elizabeth. Who makes the best argument?Essay on Theory of self in Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
Rene Descartes argument on dualism holds that the mind is non-physical and therefore non-spatial substance. The mind is related to consciousness and self-awareness, different from the brain which is associated with intelligence. Thus Descartes developed a theory of the mind as an immaterial, non-extended substance that engages in various activities such as rational thought, imagining, feeling, and willing (soul). He opined that as opposed to matter and other properties which conform to the law of physics in mechanic fashion, the human body is causally affected by the soul or mind and that results to causal production of certain mental events. The raising of an arm, for instance, is an act of free will while being hit by a hammer will cause the mind to feel pain. Overall, Descartes grapples to prove that the body and the mind interact to give out actions. Princess Elizabeth questioned Descartes analogy. She wondered how a single thinking substance in the name of the soul, could determine the spirits of the body to produce voluntary actions. According to Elizabeth, all determination of movement is done by an impulse of a moving thing and the idea that something with no physical properties could interact causaly with a physical item was absurd.Essay on Theory of self in Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
In my opinion, Princess Elizabeth makes the best argument. Certainly, it is difficult if not impossible, to conceive that thoughts in the mind, with absolutely zero physical properties, can causally bring about actions in a physical body. How is it possible that something happening to the body (e.g., stimulation of our perceptual organs or being poked by a needle) can bring about perceptual experiences and thoughts? There has to be a connection or an interaction. Descartes fails to draw this connection and instead comes up with dodgy notions that fail to draw the gap.
The Akan Theory of Self
The only conceivable interpretation of mind into Alan is adwene. This is insufficient for the word mind which is susceptible to either substance or non-substance interpretation since adwene is only limited to the latter. The interpretation also fails in distinguishing mind from thought as it gives them one meaning. As a result, one would wonder what does the thinking according to Akans. This is often answered with one word: onipa or the person does the thinking. Thus it can be concluded that among this group of people, the one and only instrument or mechanism of thought is the brain. There is a correlation between brain activity and thinking. No wonder they use the figure of speech “he has no adwene in his head” to mean that a person is thoughtless.
The Akan theory of self portrays the concept of the mind as both ideational and dispositional. Ideational because it is considered as one aspect as to harboring thoughts. The mind is not that which thinks, but the product of thinking, which is thought. In simpler terms, thoughts are not in the mind but of the mind. It is also dispositional in that a person deemed to have a good mind has the capacity to give thoughts of such quality. It does not mean that a sequence of brilliant thoughts is crossing through the person’s mind at that particular time. It only tells that the person has the ability to display impressive thinking when the need arises-essay on Theory of self in Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
The Akan theory of self also takes after most African perspectives on personal identify. It is a purposeful theory that informs a variety of social institutions, practices, and judgments about personal identity, moral responsibility, and the proper relationship both among individuals and between individuals and community. For the Akan, judgments about personhood are not matter of merely academic interest, but play an important role in shaping and supporting their highly communal social structure. The Alabama theory of self represents an attempt to resolve questions of identity, freedom, and morality in favor of a communalistic way of life that has evolved as a rational adaptation to the exigencies of survival under harsh conditions.