Episode 282

Do You Really Have a Self?

A Conversation with Jay Garfield

May 23, 2022

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jay Garfield about the illusion of the self. They discuss the default sense of subjectivity, the difference between absolute and conventional truth, interdependence, free will, subject-object duality, emptiness, the “mind-only” school of Buddhism, scientific realism and experiential anti-realism, and other topics.

Jay L. Garfield is Chair of the Philosophy department at Smith College, visiting professor of Buddhist philosophy at Harvard Divinity School, professor of philosophy at Melbourne University and adjunct professor of philosophy at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Academicinfluence.com has identified him as one of the 50 most influential philosophers in the world over the past decade.

Garfield’s research addresses topics in cognitive science, modern Indian philosophy, ethics, epistemology, logic, the Scottish enlightenment, and Buddhist philosophy—particularly Indo-Tibetan Madhyamaka and Yogācāra. He is the author or editor of over 30 books and nearly 200 articles, chapters, and reviews.

Website: jaygarfield.org


Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.