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Mind, bundle theory of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-V008-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

This theory owes its name to Hume, who described the self or person (which he assumed to be the mind) as ’nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement’ (A Treatise of Human Nature I, IV, §VI). The theory begins by denying Descartes’s Second Meditation view that experiences belong to an immaterial soul; its distinguishing feature is its attempt to account for the unity of a single mind by employing only relations among the experiences themselves rather than their attribution to an independently persisting subject. The usual objection to the bundle theory is that no relations adequate to the task can be found. But empirical work suggests that the task itself may be illusory.

Many bundle theorists follow Hume in taking their topic to be personal identity. But the theory can be disentangled from this additional burden.

Citing this article:
Candlish, Stewart. Mind, bundle theory of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V008-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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