The Self in early Nyaya: a minimal conclusion

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In this paper I revisit the early Nyaya argument for the existence of a self. In section 1, I reconstruct the argument in Nyaya-sutra 1.1.10 as an argument from recognition following the interpretation in the Nyayasutra-Bhaya and the Nyaya-Varttika. In Section 2, I reassess the plausibility of the Nyaya argument from memory/recognition in the Bhaya and the Varttika in the light of recent empirical research. I conclude that the early Nyaya version of the argument from recognition can only establish a minimal conclusion that self is a unitary and persisting conscious agent, in contrast to the ontological conclusion that the self is distinct a substance qualified by consciousness. In the final section, I address the tension between the two conclusions in Nyaya and suggest how it might be resolved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24 - 42
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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