anatman

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated)

anatman
no Self

In contrast to the Hindu idea of the selfhood, atman, Buddhist thought speaks of “no self” or anatman. In this view, the self is merely a bundle of skandha that disperse at death.

Some Buddhist thought tries to interpret the doctrine of anatman as meaning that there is a true Self, and that all that is being denied is the limited self or ego.

Dooyeweerd himself compares his idea of the selfhood with atman. Insofar as Dooyeweerd emphasizes totality, root unity, and selfhood, his philosophy can be more easily compared with an emphasis on atman rather than the doctrine of anatman, which leads to a fragmented and de-centered view of the self.

I see some similarity to anatman in Olthuis’s view of the self. Olthuis denies Dooyeweerd’s view of supratemporality of the self. In “Of Webs and Whirlwinds; Me, Myself and I” (Contemporary Reflections on the Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd, ed. D.F.M. Strauss and Michelle Botting (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000), he says (p. 37), “Who we are is web-like, our textures woven and interwoven with the threads and textures of the people and the world in which we live.” Of course we are inter-related with others and world. But Olthuis also wants to move away from any centering ideas of selfhood. He believes that this is necessary in order to do more justice to diversity, difference, divergence, relation, in self-experience, as well as to the tensions, fragmentations, and disruptions in our experience of self-identity (p. 37). He is wary of “centering metaphors” that elevate unity beyond diversity.

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