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Attention, Not Self$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198757405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198757405.001.0001

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The Disunity of Mind

The Disunity of Mind

(p.192) 9 The Disunity of Mind
Attention, Not Self

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

The term ‘mind’ (mano) is used in a confused range of different and contradictory senses in the early Pāli canon. Buddhaghosa will impose order by distinguishing distinct cognitive modules, each with its proper domain of cognitive work. Early perception, the subliminal orienting, and initial reception of a stimulus into the perceptual process, is the function of ‘mind-element’ (mano-dhātu), a low-level cognitive system. Late perception and working memory is the function of a high-level cognitive system, ‘mind-discrimination-element’ (mano-viññāṇa-dhātu). In deference to ancient Buddhist tradition, Buddhaghosa refers to six sense-modalities, the sixth being called ‘mind’ (mano). Just as each of the five types of sensory datum enters perceptual processing though a proprietary sense-door, so the objects of mind enter through a ‘mind-door’. However, this is not a sixth channel, a window onto a proprietary sort of mental object, but is nothing other than the door gating projection into short-term working memory.

Keywords:   philosophy of mind, Buddhist philosophy, mind, internal sense, cognitive system, sensus communis

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