The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy.

Lecture 1, 2006

“So It Goes”
J. David Velleman
New York University

Full Text

Download the PDF

Buddhists believe that the existence of an enduring self is an illusion and that this illusion is the root of the suffering inherent in the human condition. I want to explore whether this particular Buddhist thought can be understood in terms familiar to analytic philosophy. How might the illusion of an enduring self lie at the root of human suffering? After explaining the sense in which the enduring self is indeed an illusion, I argue that this illusion goes hand-in-hand with another — namely, the illusion of the passage of time. Seeming to be an enduring self, even though one is not, is what makes time seem to pass, even though it does not. And the appearance that time passes, I argue, is the source of the suffering that is alleviated when both illusions are dispelled.

Preferred citation
Velleman, J. David. “So It Goes.” The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy 1 (2006): 1–23. <>.