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Brains, Buddhas, and BelievingThe Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind$
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Dan Arnold

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231145473

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231145473.001.0001

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The Svasaṃvitti Doctrine

The Svasaṃvitti Doctrine

Dharmakīrti’s “Methodological Solipsism”

(p.158) 5 The Svasaṃvitti Doctrine
Brains, Buddhas, and Believing

Dan Arnold

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes Dharmakīrti's foundational doctrine of svasaṃvitti, or “self-awareness.” It begins by turning to his predecessor Dignāga. In first introducing the doctrine, Dignāga sketches most of the significant intuitions about svasaṃvitti in just a few verses, thus offering some insight on the various claims and arguments at play. The options introduced can then be fleshed out with reference to Dharmakīrti, whose most influential argument for svasaṃvitti—the so-called sahopalambhaniyama argument—seems to involve both perceptual and constitutive understandings of self-awareness. The chapter concludes with some consideration of how Dharmakīrti's understanding of svasaṃvitti dovetails with his characteristic emphasis on causal explanation.

Keywords:   Dharmakīrti, Buddhism, self-awareness, svasaṃvitti, Dignāga, sahopalambhaniyama, causal explanation

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