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The SelfNaturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199652365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652365.001.0001

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(p.166) 9 Reflexivism
The Self

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses a development that took place in Buddhism in the sixth century, and subsequently had wide repercussions in the Indian discussion of self. Reflexivism (svasaṃvedana) is the thesis that self‐consciousness consists in conscious mental occurrences being reflexively conscious of themselves. Dignāga's defence of reflexivism consists in part in a new “two aspects” theory of representation, and in part in an argument that higher‐order theories of consciousness are regressive. He presents an argument based on what is involved in the idea that one can have first‐person access to the subjectivity of one's past mental life. With his theory that intentional content is comprised of both an object‐aspect and a subject‐aspect, Dignāga replaces the phenomenal mineness account of subjective immersion with a representational self‐model theory, in which a first‐person perspective consists in turning the subject‐aspect of one's thought into an object‐aspect. The brilliance of Dignāga's argument consists in its demonstration that the possibility of having a first‐person perspective on the one's own mental past requires that a first‐person stance consists in being reflexively self‐aware.

Keywords:   self‐consciousness, reflexivism, Dignāga, higher-order consciousness, representation

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