The self is an illusion, our passions a by-product of the brain. Or so neuroscience and many analytic philosophers believe. Yet, as the late philosopher Mary Midgley passionately argued, even if we had a plausible account of how such a complex illusion could evolve, inner experience is undeniable. Is the denial of the self a mistake driven by the desire to uphold a purely material universe? Or can material science eradicate the self and still make sense of who we are?
In tribute to Mary Midgley and in association with Aeon