This post is an overview of the Phantom Self project, as I conceive it at the outset. It presents an overall structure of my case for conceptual reform. It does not state the entire argument, as most supporting detail will be left to subsequent posts. It is a plan and a rough map, not the journey itself, in the course of which there will certainly be unscheduled detours.
I will recommend reform of the concepts of self, person, and related ideas. These concepts are important; they play a prominent role in how we think and feel about the world, in our decision-making and action. There are dramatic differences in emotional colouring between things I think of as mine or not mine, as self or other. The concept of person is central to morality – to responsibility for actions – and to the ideas of justice, reward and punishment which underlie our laws. The reforms I will suggest are not trivial, and should not be dismissed as ‘just semantic’. (more…)