A phenomenological reading of the Ny?ya critique of the no-self view:

Udayana and the phenomenal separateness of self

Authored by: Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

History of Indian Philosophy

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415309769
eBook ISBN: 9781315666792
Adobe ISBN:


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A distinction needs to be made in classical Indian philosophy between the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘person’. Ny?ya does not disagree with Yog?c?ra Buddhists that personal identity is erroneous (mithy?) about the underlying metaphysical truth about consciousness. The disagreement is over whether that truth is the existence of a unitary locus of consciousness, the ?tman. Udayana takes the Buddhist argument to be that there is no self because none is experienced. His response is that, without a unitary locus of consciousness capable of reflexively using the first-personal ‘I’ diachronically across states of consciousness, the undeniable distinction between subjects that is available in experience would be inexplicable.

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