Roots of modern philosophy are rooted in the idea of self. Today philosophers use the terms self and person interchangeably. However it is important for humans to understand themselves before trying to understand their surroundings. When identity is discussed from a philosophical perspective, it is considered though different paradigms that exist. These have been formulated over time by different philosophers and theorists. When one discusses identity:
The problem of personal identity over time is the problem of giving an account of the logically necessary and sufficient conditions for a person identified at one time being the same person as a person identified at another. (Noonan, 1989)
The debate about consciousness and mind has been carried out for a long time. This essay gives a brief overview about identity and consciousness as believed by different philosophers.
Descartes for instance was the first to admit that one irrefutable fact was that through of his own existence. There is a consciousness about one’s existence if a person has thoughts about himself, and tries to recognize and understand himself or herself. Thus what differentiates a human from other beings is the awareness of him or her self.
Although modern thought about self starts from Descartes, Buddha’s philosophy explores the idea quite differently. According to him humans are composed of five aggregates. Matter, feelings, observation, mental configuration, and realization. He investigated all the five aggregates and discovered there human soul did not have permanence, and since all the factors mentioned keep on changing, therefore, it was virtually impossible for an identity to have any kind of consistency.
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