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The formation of the self as mental unity and moral agency in hume’s philosophy

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2008
Neslioğlu, E. Funda
This dissertation proposes to analyze the stages in the formation of the idea of self in Hume’s philosophy. According to Hume we have no a simple and individual impression that we can call the self where the self is the totality of conscious life of a person. Nevertheless, we do have an idea of personal identity that must be accounted for. He begins his explanation of this idea by noting that our perceptions are fleeting, and he concludes from this that all we are is a bundle of different perceptions. But as a result of such a consideration Hume argues that he failed to find sufficient account for the relation between the idea of self involved in the indirect passions of pride and humility and the idea of self associated with its mental aspect. In this dissertation it is attempted to show that these two aspects of the self do not contradict, but rather they co-exist, and such a co-existence of the two aspects of the self should be recognised as an empirical fact. This means that the self is not a mere bundle of perceptions, but it is at least a very peculiar form of the relational unity of perceptions.