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date: 24 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This paper considers Hume’s account of personal identity in his Treatise of Human Nature. It argues for three connected claims. (1) Hume does not endorse a “bundle theory” of mind, according to which the mind or self is simply a “bundle” of perceptions; he thinks that “the essence of the mind [is] unknown to us.” (2) Hume does not deny the existence of subjects of experience; he does not endorse a “no self” or “no ownership” view. (3) Hume does not claim that the subject of experience is not encountered in experience. The paper also examines Hume’s phenomenological account of self-experience—of what he comes across when he engages in mental self-examination by “entering intimately into what I call myself”—and his psychological account of how we come to believe in the existence of a persisting self as a result of the mind’s “sliding easily” along certain series of perceptions.

Keywords: Hume, personal identity, bundle, bundle theory, subject of experience, no-ownership, no self, self-experience

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