The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

There is no "self"

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 66747
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




The self, or the ego, or everything we believe about ourselves and every way in which we see ourselves, is not a reality. It is not a substance of truth. Truth I define as that which exists beyond our perception of it.
Example: I do not have to see a tree for it to exist; it exists without my perception of it, the tree's existence does not depend on my observation of it.
Likewise, everything you believe about yourself does not and cannot exist as an objective "truth"

Others believe that life is a fabrication, an imagined world, that reality does not exist, that the substance of life is within the story, the mind, that which man creates for himself.
Or you may want to argue over the necessary existence of the ego or self. Can go in a number of directions.


"The self, or the ego, or everything we believe about ourselves and every way in which we see ourselves, is not a reality. It is not a substance of truth. Truth I define as that which exists beyond our perception of it."

I believe I have fingers.. I actually believe I'm using them to type right now. I believe I'm white, and this can be proven true by more than just the obvious color of my skin, but by tracing my lineage.

If the self is not real, and I'm the only person in a room, is the room empty?

I believe I control my actions and contain energy. If I spin a wheel hooked up to a machine that captures energy, is that energy not real? If I shocked you with that electricity, would that be reality?

How can my perception of you getting shocked off energy I created (directed through food I ate) possibly not be real?
Debate Round No. 1


Your belief may or may not affirm something that is true, for example the fact that you have fingers. However, your "belief" or observation that you have fingers does not make it true. It was true before you observed the fact. Your belief is insignificant in determining something that is true because the truth is self-evident and was there before you observed it.

And again by self I mean ego, not our physical bodies; those are real. We are made of physical matter that is a real substance. However, nothing can be contributed to a given object or person by perception. So you sitting in a room is actually just part of one united "existence" that all things inside and outside of it partake in, again independent of your observation.

If you shocked me with energy, that which is me would be shocked. I think your understanding of self differed from mine.

You may wish to argue on the point that our beliefs are insignificant. Because what is your life if your beliefs about yourself are nothing?


You can't see my thoughts.. I can't see yours.. But when they are written down we can.

I can't see cold air, but its real.

My brainwaves can be scanned. If I'm brain dead my ego is gone, there will be no brainwaves. But when my ego is evaluating itself, brainwaves can be detected.

My perception of myself is mine, its opinion.

There is self. As I speak to myself in my mind energy is coursing through my brain.. Its real.
Debate Round No. 2


Okay... it seems the con argument proposed is that because I can observe my thoughts, I exist.

My argument: your perception of yourself exists only in your perception. There is nothing objective about that perception. All of the thoughts you think compose a self that only exists by your conviction that it exists, yours and mine.

This is unlike a couch, as someone argued in the comment section. You think my argument is "The couch I am sitting on is not a couch because I can only use the resource of my mind to understand it as such," but no, that is not my argument. There is a couch indeed. The couch exists. People exist. I exist. It's just that my perceptions don't. The couch is not a perception, the couch is a reality because it exists independent of whether I observe it or not. The self, however, to restate, only exists in my conviction of it. The self- not the person, which does exist.

I argue that "I think, therefore I am" is misleading. Rather, it is, "I am, and I also think that I am." Your existence is self evident: the fact that you exist needs no proof. Whether or not you THINK you exist, you exist. If you said, "I don't think I am, and therefore I am not," you would be wrong. Your thoughts do not confirm your existence, neither do they confirm the truth. Even if you didn't know that you existed, you'd exist.

The truth is that which is permanent. You are right to say that when you die, your ego dies. That's exactly why it is not a truth. If your thoughts are impermanent and your "self" or "ego" is only existing based on its perception of itself, does it really exist?

The energy that is produced by thoughts, the brainwaves as you stated, is real, however. But how we associate ourselves with those thoughts and whether or not we believe them is where these thoughts are put on trial. The ego evaluates thought. But take away that which evaluates the thought and what you have is emptiness. You're left only with the very nature of your being, thoughts without opinion.

Thought is not emptiness. Thought with association is emptiness. Thoughts can be of the truth. The thought that "I exist" is true. This is not because I "believe" it, but just because it's true. I don't have to think anything of it. Any thought that the ego creates a relationship to is not real. But thought is real in itself.

My final proposition: What are we when we are that which does not observe itself? My answer: Egoless.


BillionBrainCells forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by dhardage 2 years ago
If there were no self, we would not exist as separate individuals. This argument is philosophical sophistry at best.
Posted by CrimsonStar16 2 years ago
"I think therefore I am"? Is this not what cogito ergo sum stood for? Because you think, you have consciousness, and therefore, you have a self and this self is what moves this body and generates logical thoughts. I do not believe that self cannot be real.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
Posted by BillionBrainCells 2 years ago
Are you speaking to pro or con?
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
Did you actually pay someone to get you to think like this?There was a fella that started college. He came home and we were in my living room. He said" how do you know that couch actually exists". I sat on it ," If it didn't, I would be on the floor right now.

How many brain cells do you have to put in play to come up with this stuff.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Pro. Con forfeited the final round which is rarely acceptable behavior in any debate setting. For this, Pro is awarded conduct. S&G - Tie. Both had minor flaws in spelling and grammar, thus this balances out. Arguments - Pro. I feel like both never really met on common ground. One of arguing mainly for perception being the end all, while the other was trying to prove empirically that there is a self. Hence the conflict between the two. Ultimately, Pro presented rebuttals and arguments that went unchallenged due to Con's forfeit. For Pro's arguments remaining standing, I award him argument points. Source - Tie. Neither utilized sources in this debate.