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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Uncentred Minds

Uncentred Minds

(p.107) 15 Uncentred Minds
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

In this chapter I explore the relationship between Fernando Pessoa and Buddhism. I first introduce the brilliant French philosopher Simone Weil (1909–43), a contemporary of Pessoa but someone of whom he certainly had never heard. One way to read her remarks is as directed against the positional use of ‘I’, against the deployment in thought and speech of a positional conception of self. One should abandon forms of self-consciousness that are grounded in one’s thinking of oneself as the one at the centre of a landscape of sensation. For Weil, it is precisely such contact with reality as attention makes possible which holds the uncentred mind together, preventing its content being ‘a phantasmagoric fluttering with no centre or sense’. The uncentred mind would thus be a sort of conformal and aperspectival map of reality, standing in correspondence with the world without any privileged perspectival point. With these distinctions in mind, we say more of the mind of Alberto Caeiro, and address the question whether he is a Buddhist heteronym.

Keywords:   Simone Weil, attention, conformal map, emptiness at the centre, Alberto Caeiro, Buddhism, Dignāga, Yogācāra

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