Sunday, 27 February 2011

Is our idea of an "I" illusory?

I am a philosophy student with an interest in the debate between religion and science. I am a big fan of Professor Polkinghorne's books and would like to ask him a question.

I recently read a book called Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction by Dr. Susan J. Blackmore. The book suggests that our sense of a single "self" "I" or "soul" is illusory and that our current knowledge suggests that the feeling of a stream of consciousness, selfhood and free will are illusions resulting from the processes of the brain. The book advocates not thinking too much(and claims that our thoughts are mostly "Daft and Pointless" anyway) and learn to enjoy the lives we have no control over. As a Christian I find that this idea conflicts with my beliefs but I do not know enough about science to judge its validity. Is our idea of an "I" illusory?

To have an illusion presumably means that somebody believes something that is untrue. It is therefore hard to see in what sense the idea of a self really could be entirely an illusion. It’s a bit like saying the idea that we have a body is an illusion because in fact we have arms, legs, internal organs etc...

Blackmore is over-influenced by Dawkins and Dennett.

No comments:

Post a Comment