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

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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Conceptions of Self: An Analytical Taxonomy

Conceptions of Self: An Analytical Taxonomy

Chapter:
(p.35) 1 Conceptions of Self: An Analytical Taxonomy
Source:
The Self
Author(s):

Jonardon Ganeri

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652365.003.0003

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter develops an analytical framework within which conceptions of self can be identified and classified. A conception about self supplies an answer to the question “What am I?” Until very recently, virtually all western discussion about the self explored three conceptions: the Cartesian, the Humean or Reductionist, and the Strawsonian or Materialist views. This chapter demonstrates that these three are far from exhaustive, and indeed identify eleven broad conceptions of self, grounding the classification in an orthogonal pair of distinctions: between adjectival and collective modes of exemplification, and between considerations about individuation and considerations about ownership. Thus, as well as the three views just mentioned, Indian theory discusses Ownership, Pure Consciousness and Phenomenal views, three types of (Buddhist) No Place view, the Tornado view and the Flame view.

Keywords:   conceptions of self, reductionism, ownership, Cartesianism, Humeanism

Two Distinctions about ‘Having’

A conception about self supplies an answer to the question ‘What am I?’ Part of that answer is the specification of a relationship between me and the mental states that are mine, between an individual and a mental life. Another part of the answer is the specification of a relationship between me and the physical states that are mine, between an individual and a body. A third part specifies the relationship between an individual and their physical environment and social relations. In this chapter, I will present a new taxonomy of the possible views that might be taken of these relationships, which I will construct on the basis of two distinctions in the ways a self might be thought to be related to a mental life, physical body, and wider environment: a distinction between collective and adjectival modes of exemplification,1 and a distinction between the individuation and the ownership of mental states.2 A collective property is a property of a totality which is not necessarily a property of any item within it. According to one view, being a self is a collective property of the totality of mental states that is the stream or flow of a mental life. There are reductionist, emergentist, and constitutive versions of this conception, and Sellars's ‘Principle of Reducibility’ is helpful in distinguishing between them (cf. Haskar 1999). What the principle asserts is that

(p.36) if an object is in a strict sense a system of objects, then every property of the object must consist in the fact that its constituents have such and such qualities and stand in such and such relations, or roughly, every property of a system of objects consists of properties of, and relations between, its constituents.3

A reductionist version of the first view claims that this Principle is true of selves: every property of a self must consist in the fact that mental states have such‐and‐such qualities and stand in such‐and‐such relations. An emergentist version denies that the principle is true of selves: selves have properties which do not consist in the fact that mental states have such-and-such qualities and stand in such-and-such relations. According to the constitutive version of the view, the relationship is instead one of constitution. Constitution is not a relation either of reduction or emergence, because it is a broad rather than a narrow relation. A pot is a piece of clay that stands in a distinctive set of relationships with a potter and a utility, some of which are such that if they did not obtain, the piece of clay would not count as a pot at all, others are such as to license the description of the pot as good, bad, unfinished, or broken. Similarly, it might be held that a self is a mental life that stands in a distinctive set of relationships with a social world of law and ethics. Some of the relationships are such that if they did not obtain, the mental life would not count as a self at all; others are such as to license the description of the mental life as healthy, well‐rounded, dysfunctional, fragmented, and so on.

The second way a self might be thought to relate to a mental life views the relationship as being the same as the relationship between a piece of rope and a knot, or surface and a dent; that is, rather than a self being thought of as a collective feature of a mental life, the mental life is viewed as adjectival on a self.4 It takes as central the existence of a certain sort of metaphysical dependence between a self and a mental state, such that the mental state could not exist without the self it is the state of. Parfit has suggested that the idea of adjectival dependence be analysed as follows: Xs are adjectival on Ys only if Xs are essentially of or in Ys, and there could not be Xs without Ys, (p.37) and an X of one Y could not have been an X of a different Y (Parfit 1999: 239). The view conceives of the self in a manner that apparently courts the possibility that there is a self even when there is the most rudimentary or fragmented mental life, and even the possibility of a self when there is no mental life at all, just as there can be a piece of rope which is unknotted or a surface that is not dented (dents need surfaces, but surfaces don't need dents).

One might feel that what a self is reducible to, emergent from, or constituted by is not (or not only) a mental life but rather the collection of states and properties of a physical body. Similarly, rather than claim that experiences are adjectival upon subjects of experience, one might want to say that a subject of experience is something whose states are metaphysically dependent on bodies. So this first distinction generates a range of possible relationships, collective and adjectival, involving the body, the stream of experience, and the self.

There is an orthogonal way for a distinction to be drawn, one in terms of a distinction between individuation and ownership. By ‘individuation’ I mean here the metaphysical problem of providing an ‘ontological assay’ (Moreland 1998: 251) of the situation so as to specify what makes it the case that there is a plurality of individuals; rather than any epistemological or linguistic concern. The previous discussion has provided materials for two methods of individuation, one by way of the specification of a relationship to a collection and the other in terms of adjectival dependence. It is a distinct idea to say that my experiences are mine—that they are not occurrences happening to me, insertions in my mental life, but, in a sense, are me. The thought is expressed very well by Peter Strawson in a passage I will frequently return to:

Our desires and preferences are not, in general, something we just note in ourselves as alien presences. To a large extent they are we. The point gains force from the very fact of exceptions to it: i.e. from the presence in some subjects, sometimes, of dispositions and desires which they do experience as intrusive compulsions. In respect of them, there is no sense of freedom. (P. F. Strawson 1992: 134)

Ownership too might formally be thought of either in terms of collection or of adjectival dependence, and it is not inevitably the case that the question about ownership which this consideration introduces is resolved by the same considerations as resolve the question of individuation or metaphysical (p.38) dependence. Holding the distinct considerations about individuation and about ownership apart, we can see that there is potentially an elision in Shoemaker's affirmation that ‘an experiencing is something whose existence is “adjectival on” a subject of experience’, in that it presumes that what I am calling questions of ownership and questions of individuation are resolved with reference to the same set of facts.5

The distinction between the question of whom a mental state is a state of (the question of ownership) and what it is metaphysically dependent upon (the question of individuation) is marked in Indian theory with the widespread technical use of a pair of terms: one is said to be the location or ‘place’ (ādhāra)6 of experience; the other is its support or ‘base’ (āśraya).7 Thus, according to what I will later call an Ownership View, states of mind are owned by selves and dependent on bodies; selves present a ‘place’ of ownership for experiences whose individuative ‘base’ is in the body.

To say that the self provides the place of ownership and the body the base of individuation is not to say that the self or the body is a mere ‘container’ or ‘receptacle’ for the mind. The expressions ‘place’ (ādhāra) and ‘base’ (āśraya) are used in a technical, non‐colloquial, sense. Some classical criticisms fail to recognize that the terms are being used in these technical senses, and trade on their common or colloquial meanings.8 Nor is it right to conflate the ideas of ‘place’ or ‘base’ with that of ‘substratum’—at least not as that notion is used in substratum theories of individuation, according to which the substratum is a bare particular (Bergmann 1967; Moreland 1998; Sider 2006). To do so would be a symptom of a deep residual Cartesianism, in which matters of individuation and matters of ownership are conflated. In an Ownership View, by contrast, what makes it the case that there is a plurality of subjects of experience is a question answered with reference to metaphysical dependences implicated in embodiment and not with reference to any proposal such as that subjects of experience are bare (p.39) particulars. A distinction drawn by Connell (1988: 90) between two ways in which something can be thought to have a property is helpful here. While bare particulars exemplify properties by way of a simple attributional tie, substantial individuals are constituted by capacities and potentialities which serve as the grounds for the properties they instantiate; Connell speaks of the property being ‘rooted in’ the individual. My own view is that ownership is ‘rooted’ in the deep psyche of the individual and in their propensities to endorsement, and individuation is determined by the essentially embodied character of a capacity for normative emotional response. I am not assuming that ownership is a primitive concept; indeed, I believe that it comprises various strands, closely intertwined in normal psychologies but capable of separation in pathological ones.9

This distinction between ownership and individuation is closely related to a distinction P. F. Strawson draws between what he calls ‘having1’ and ‘having2’ (Strawson 1966: 96). His ‘having1’ is ‘really a kind of causal dependence’, whereas base is perhaps best understood as a supervenience‐supporting relation of metaphysical dependence; his ‘having2’ is a ‘peculiar non‐transferable kind of possession’, while place leaves it at least an open matter whether, in cases of thought insertion, subjects transfer ownership in any relevant sense when they deny that a thought is their own. I will say more about thought insertion in later chapters. Strawson does not himself endorse the distinction between ‘having1’ and ‘having2’, but those who regard first‐person phenomena as a challenge for naturalism (Baker 1998, 2011; see also Chapter 3) believe that not to do so is a mistake.

Buddhist and Real Self Views

With the help of this pair of distinctions, we can now construct a taxonomy of views about self. First, there are those views in which indeed no distinction is drawn between the two sorts of ‘having’:

(p.40)

Type I: One‐dimensional Views

Cartesian View

Self is both place and base

Materialist View

Body is both place and base

Reductionist View

Stream is both place and base

The Cartesian View10 makes the self both the owner of experience and that upon which it adjectivally depends. This, rather than dualism, is the defining characteristic of Cartesianism as a theory in the philosophy of mind. Any theory which retains the feature basic to Cartesian theories, the undifferentiated identification of the self as place and base, however different from Descartes's theory of mind in other respects, is still fundamentally Cartesian. In such a view the self is indeed a substratum or bare particular.

The Materialist View is that mental and physical properties are exemplified in a single domain of entities. This view encompasses both type‐identity theory and property dualism (hard naturalism—‘materialism’ with a lower case—is but one version of this view). It is also Strawson's view about persons as the exemplars of both M‐ and P‐predicates. It includes a range of Indian formulations, from Animalism to Cārvāka Emergentism.11

The Reductionist View is the view that a stream of experience collectively provides mental states with both an identity and an owner; it is the view of Parfit and also of Hume.12

Then there are views which endorse the idea of a self as the owner of experience, but deny that it plays the double role which the Cartesian View assigns it:

Type II: Real Self Views

Ownership View

Self is place, body is base

Phenomenal View

Self is place, stream is base

Pure Consciousness View

Self is place, there is no base

(p.41) There are again several versions of the Ownership View. One is the Constitution View, which takes the relation between body and self to be a constitution relation.13 A second type of Ownership View is a Natural Self View, which I mentioned earlier in this chapter.14 A third version is that the self is an invariant sense of embodied self‐presence. We might call this the Minimal Ownership View; I will discuss it in Chapter 6.15 What all versions of the Ownership View have in common is the importance given to the body as that upon which a mental life is metaphysically dependent, but without a reduction of self to body.

The Phenomenal View is the view that the self is an entity imminent in, but not identical or reducible to, the stream, which is the collective base; for example by being emergent from it, or constituted by it.16 A popular analogy is the relationship between a serpent and its coils. One version is the sort of view William James favoured, namely that there is really just a succession of selves one after another but no enduring self:

The consciousness of Self involves a stream of thought, each part of which as ‘I’ can remember those which went before, and know the things they knew…It is a Thought, at each moment different from that of the last moment, but appropriative of the latter, together with all that the latter called its own.17

(p.42) A Pure Consciousness View retains the idea of ownership but denies that experience is metaphysically dependent on anything. The only way for this to be possible is for it to own itself: self simply is pure consciousness, self‐owning and not dependent on anything.18

Suppose instead that we give up on the idea that there is any such thing as the ownership of experience. This idea, we can now see, permits three variants:

Type III: No Place (Buddhist) Views

No Place View 1

Body is base, there is no place

No Place View 2

Stream is base, there is no place

No Place View 3

There is no base, there is no place

The No Place View is that the happenings of the mind are not owned. The mind's ontology is one of tropes not properties. There is nothing that owns mental tropes and they don't aggregate to form subjects (it is the fundamental wrong move to think that any of the mental items, or the collective stream, is a subject). So the notion of a place for mental states is an idle one, but the notion of individuating base is still available. One No Place View grounds mental occurrences in the body, retaining psycho‐physical supervenience. A second retains from Reductionism the idea that streams are individuative. A third No Place view denies that there is anything which individuates mental occurrences. They do not supervene on bodies, nor are they metaphysically adjectival to streams, although they may stand in causal relations of one sort or another. They are not well individuated, metaphysically speaking.

Because place is denied, and not merely self, and because I am aware of no other philosophers who think this, I will designate Type III conceptions ‘Buddhist’.19 The first No Place View is that of Abhidharma Buddhism. Yogācāra, also known as the Mind‐Only (cittamātra) or the Cognition View (p.43) (vijñānavāda) is a version of the second view. So too is Sautrāntika.20 Madhyamaka Buddhism is a No Place View of the third sort.

Although Type III views are all defended by Buddhists, not all Buddhists advance a Type III view. The ‘Pudgala Realist’ (pudgala‐vāda) view of Vātsiputrīya Buddhism is that what they call pudgala is not identical to the stream, which is the base, but neither is it wholly different.21 Theirs is a view I will shortly describe and designate the Flame View. They use the term pudgala to mean something that is emergent from a dynamical system. Vasubandhu, writing as an Abhidharma Buddhist, denies that dynamical systems have emergent macrostates, and so asserts that there are no pudgalas in the Pudgala Realists’ sense. I will say more about No Place Views in the next section.22

Tornado and Flame Views

There are two views not so far defined:

Type IV: Stream is Place

Tornado View

Body is base, stream is place

Flame View

Stream is place, there is no base

These views rest on the idea that dynamical systems of sufficient complexity can exhibit new properties, emergent macro‐properties. A provisional working definition of emergence is this:

A property P of a mereologically complex object O is emergent if (p.44)

  1. 1. [Supervenience] P supervenes on the properties of the parts of O,

  2. 2. [Non‐Structurality] P is not had by any of O's parts and is not a structural property of O, and

  3. 3. [Autonomy] P has a direct determinative influence on the pattern of behaviour of O's parts.23

The purpose of the third clause is to give sense to the idea that emergence produces properties that are causally autonomous, but it is open to whether some other formulation of the autonomy requirement is better. There are two ways in which a view about emergence can depart from the provisional definition. One is to drop the autonomy requirement altogether. The claim then is that it is possible for a mereologically complex object to have properties which do not confer on it new causal powers not derivable from the object's parts and arrangement, and yet are not merely structural properties of the system of parts. And indeed, non‐linear dynamical systems theory has demonstrated exactly how it is possible for this to happen. We define a microdynamic which governs the evolution in time of the system's microstates. The relevant feature of certain dynamical systems is that, although every state at any time is in principle derivable from the initial conditions, there is no implementable procedure for conducting the derivation in real time. One influential suggestion is that the only way to make predictions is through simulation.24 Other suggestions are possible. What matters is that the emergent macrostates have no properties not in principle derivable from a structural description of the system, together with a specification of its initial conditions. This is what is generally known as ‘weak’ emergence.

The second alternative way to depart from the provisional definition is to drop supervenience. Again, the literature has proposals for non‐supervenience‐based versions of dynamical emergence.25 An interesting (p.45) proposal is that the component parts of a system undergo ‘fusion’ as the system evolves.26

When it is the physical body, and not the stream, which provides both the microstates of the system and the place of ownership, these suggestions are all versions of the Cārvāka View. The idea that the provisional definition is the correct way to formulate emergence reflects Udbhaṭa's understanding, according to which the autonomy must be an autonomy of causal powers. The second proposal is most closely associated with the classical Cārvāka of Bṛhaspati, in which it is considered sufficient for emergence that mental properties are from the material elements, but not for them. A proposal of the third sort is in those later Cārvāka philosophers who say that the micro‐constituents themselves undergo a ‘transformation’ (pariṇāma) in the course of the time evolution of the system.27

Type IV views, however, take the role of ownership to be discharged by the experiential stream, not the body. The first of the two views is a description of mind for which an appropriate analogy would be the cyclone or tornado. Thus Bedau (1997: 375):

Some [examples of emergence] involve inanimate matter; e.g. a tornado is a self‐organising entity caught up in a global pattern of behaviour that seems to be autonomous with respect to the massive aggregation of air and water molecules which constitute it. Another source of examples is the mind: our mental life consists of an autonomous, coherent flow of mental states (beliefs, desires, etc.) that presumably somehow ultimately arise out of the swarm of biochemical activity among our brains's neurons. Life is a third rich source of apparent emergence. For example, the hierarchy of life embraces ecosystems composed of organisms, which are composed of organs, which are composed of cells, which are composed of molecules, but each level in this hierarchy exhibits behaviour that seems autonomous with respect to the behaviour found at the level below.

(p.46) We would then think of the mind as a tornado‐like occurrence within a dynamical flow of experience. What characterizes the Tornado View, above all, is the thought that mind is an emergent macrostate of the non‐linear dynamical behaviour of aggregated particles, here mental events.28 The term ‘disturbance’ has been used as a collective noun for the sorts of entity in question (Karmo 1977), a term which captures the idea of a single process running through a succession of metaphysical supports, just as a cyclone does with volumes of air.

The second view is characterized by a rather different thought. The idea now is that the micro‐elements are in a process of fusion and mutation, and that it is the emergent macrostates yielded by this process of mutation which we want to identify as corresponding with mind. An analogy better than that of the tornado, therefore, is the flame, pictured as something emergent from a process in which the constituent material is continuously in flux. It would be a mistake to describe this view in terms of particles shifting their patterns of aggregation, because here the micro‐elements do not persist in time. The ‘reconfigurations’ they undergo are of a metaphysical and not merely a spatio‐temporal nature.29

This begins to sound like a No Place View, but there is a crucial distinction. No Place theorists deny that the stream provides a place of ownership. It is therefore a mistake to identify the emergent macrostates which are described in the Tornado and Flame Views as genuinely self. The Buddhist View is a different theory altogether. It is a dynamical theory in which at each moment in time there is a different set of micro‐constituents, and there is a microdynamic which governs the time evolution of successive sequences of sets of micro‐constituents.30 This is different from the Tornado View, because there is no enduring set of particles analogous to the molecules of air and water in the tornado. And it is different from the Flame View, because there is no macrostate, no emergent non‐structural property analogous to the flame itself. The way of the mind is to be a dynamical (p.47) system of trope‐cluster sequences. Qua tropes, they have no place: they are not owned by anything or anyone, not even by the streams themselves. The view that there is such an emergent macrostate is that of Vātsiputrīya Buddhists. They use the term ‘person’ (pudgala) to designate this macrostate (see further Chapter 7); they have a Flame View.

We can now see more clearly why a Buddhist View is a demanding one, and has to be described with considerable care if its distinctness from other more familiar views is not to be obscured. For other views too seem at first glance to deny that there is a self: neither the Materialist nor Reductionist View, nor the Tornado or Flame View, mentions one. In every case, however, it is open to stipulate that what the term ‘self’ really means, in any of these views, is whatever it is that the view takes to be the place: the body or the stream.31 It makes no difference whether we describe the Reductionist View as the view that there are streams but not selves, or as the view that the self in fact is the stream. These are just notational variants of the same philosophical position. Again, some Cārvākas will put their view as being that there is no self but only the body, others that the self is the body. Similarly, it makes no difference whether we say that there are no selves but only flames or that the self is in fact the flame. There is a simple bijection between the two discourses.32 The Buddhist View is not simply that there is no self distinct from body or stream, it is that there is no ownership of experience at all. To deny this is to deny that there is anything that could be even a surrogate for a self. The first variety of the Buddhist View retains the thought that the time evolution of trope‐cluster sequences supervenes on the physical body. The second variety considers it to be determined by relations internal to the stream itself. The third, and most (p.48) challenging view, is that there is neither supervenience on something physical nor internal determining relations.33

There are no other views than these eleven. This is because the very idea of a self is that of a place, and the very idea of a body is that of a base. So there are no views in which the self is a base but not a place, and no views in which a body is a place but not a base. That is enough to exclude five of sixteen possibilities, leaving the eleven views identified. Necessarily, every conception about self falls into at least one of these eleven.34

No Place Views can be paired against Real Self Views in accordance with what, if anything, is taken to be the base, the individuating ground for experience. These three pairings in effect constitute three research programmes in the philosophy of self, in the form of three sets of potential dialogues between Real Self and No Place conceptions about self. Research programmes taking the form of a dialogue between Pure Consciousness and Madhyamaka views were actively pursued in India in the second half of the first millennium.35 Activity in the research programme whose shape is that of a dialogue between Yogācāra or Sautrāntika and Phenomenal views has begun only in the last few years, as the result of a fruitful encounter between Buddhist scholars and phenomenologists.36 It will be natural for these dialogues to include Reductionist Views as dialogue partners, for they share the idea that mental lives are based in the stream.37

I am interested in views which take it that mental lives are essentially embodied. My inquiry belongs within a research programme of a third sort, that is a dialogue between Ownership Views and the first sort of No Place View. It is to be expected that philosophical dialogues in this third research programme will include as a conversation partner certain Materialist Views, for they too ground mental lives in the body. I will (p.49) investigate Cārvāka, Buddhist No Place, and Nyāya‐Vaiśeṣika Ownership views. Before turning to this programme, however, there is more to be said about views of the first type distinguished above, and in particular the correlation between them and the kinds of methodological inquiry that lead to them.

Notes:

(1) This distinction is closely related to Broad's distinction between Centre and No‐Centre theories (Broad 1925: 566).

(2) This distinction is closely related to a distinction P. F. Strawson draws between what he calls ‘having1’ and ‘having2’ (Strawson 1966: 96).

(3) Sellars (1963: 27).

(4) Shoemaker (1996: 10): ‘But an experiencing is something whose existence is “adjectival on” a subject of experience. The ontological status of an experiencing, or an episode of being appeared to, is similar to that of a bending of a branch or a rising of the sun.’

(5) Lowe (1996: 6) offers an epistemological argument of the distinction: ‘That these experiences are my experiences is arguably known to me as a necessary truth; but that these experiences are associated with this body, though perhaps known to me, does not seem to constitute a necessary truth.’

(6) For an example of this use of the term ādhāra, Kumārila: śaktyādhāraprakḷptau vā nā 'tmano ’nyaḥ prakalpyate | (Ātmavāda 72ab).

(7) Many examples of this use of the term āśraya will be given later, esp. in Chs. 7 and 12.

(8) Such criticisms involve the dialogical fault technically known as vāk‐chala, trading on an equivocation involving a homonym.

(9) See Campbell (1999, 2002); Bortolotti and Broome (2009). In the Conclusion I cite a case study where immersion and participation come apart.

(10) It can sound odd using the name ‘Cartesian’ when discussing Indian theory or theory from before the time of Descartes, but it should be remembered that this is merely a well‐established label for a given philosophical view. A synonym, perhaps preferable, is the Substantial Ego View.

(11) Sorabji (2006: 267) says that the owner is ‘the embodied person’. Martin (2008: 225) diagnoses Sorabji's view as a type of non‐reductive materialism.

(12) Parfit (1984, 1999); for Hume see Ch. 2.

(13) This is the view of Baker (2000). An Indian thinker considers and criticizes the view: he says that if a body is to a self as a piece of gold is to a crown, then it will share the body's properties, but the properties of matter are not those of the self (Prabhācandra 1990: 117,9–15). Baker, perhaps the most influential contemporary constitution theorist, seeks to address this objection with the doctrine that there is a distinction between non‐derivative and derivative modes of property occurrence (Baker 2000: 46–58; 2001: 164).

(14) This is the Nyāya‐Vaiśeṣika View; see Chs. 12, 13.

(15) A view of this sort is recorded in the Upaniṣads and seemingly attributable to some of the most ancient naturalists in India: Bṛhadāranyaka 2.4.12, identified as Cārvāka by Jayanta (1982–4: ii. 202). It is also a view of several classical phenomenologists and even of one prominent neuroscientist. The phenomenologists include Husserl, Merleau‐Ponty, and Henry (Gallagher and Zavahi 2008: 203). The neuroscientist is Damasio (1999: 7, 10, 127).

(16) Haskar (1999); Dainton (2008). Several theories of self in the phenomenological tradition fall naturally into this group. Sartre, according to Williford (2011), has a reflexive Phenomenal View. Zahavi's Minimal Self View (Zahavi 2005a) is either an Ownership View or a Phenomenal View, depending on the precise significance accorded to embodiment (see further Ch. 8).

(17) James (1890: Ch. 10). One 1st‐millennium author attributes such a view to the followers of the Buddha (but I think is mistaken to do so): ‘The Buddhists think that the many moments of consciousness (vijñāna) that exist in a single body constitute [each of them] a self. In order to deny such an assertion, [it is said that] for each body there is one [self] not many’ (tathā hy ekasmin śarīre ’nekaṃ vijñānam ātmeti śākyā manyante | tatpratiṣedhārthaṃ pratiśarīram eko nānekaḥ | (Vyomaśiva 1983: i. 155,9–11) ). Cf. also Kant's famous ‘elastic balls’ metaphor (Critique A 363–4 n.). Galen Strawson has championed a variant of the account, which he calls the ‘transience’ or ‘string of pearls’ theory of self. He says that a self lasts for only as long as an active conscious experience does, perhaps two or three seconds (G. Strawson 1999a; 1999b; 2009: 9).

(18) The ‘witness consciousness’ of Advaita Vedānta and the rigpa of Tibetan Dzogchen are varieties of this conception. It has been claimed that traces of the conception can be detected in early Buddhism (Albahari 2006).

(19) Strawson's ‘no‐ownership’ doctrine, which he reconstructs from hints he finds in Wittgenstein and Schlick but is reluctant to ascribe to anyone, is evidently a variety of the first sort of No Place View: ‘The ‘no‐ownership’ theorist may be presumed to start his explanation with facts of the sort which illustrate the unique causal position of a certain material body in a person's experience…but experiences are not owned by anything’ (P. F. Strawson 1963: 9–6).

(20) This is what makes it possible for a philosopher like Dharmakīrti to integrate Sautrāntika and Yogācāra.

(21) I avoid the usual translation of pudgalavāda as ‘Personalism’ so as to avoid confusion with the very different western doctrine which goes by that name. Indeed, I argue in Ch. 7 that the translation of pudgala as ‘person’ is problematic: ‘psyche’, ‘pneuma’, or even ‘spirit’ are perhaps all better.

(22) Lowe (1996: 8) distinguishes between what he calls ‘psychological constructivism’ and a ‘non‐entity theory’. According to the former, the self ‘is nothing over and above the states of which is it the subject, but is not therefore nothing at all, since it is a perfectly respectable entity whose identity and persistence conditions are entirely expressible in terms of relationships between those states’. According to the non‐entity theory, ‘there is literally no such thing as the self, as philosophers have attempted to conceive it, and indeed that there is no object of first‐person reference, because “I” is not really a referring expression at all’.

(23) Bedau (1997: 376), adapted from O'Connor (1994). See Ch. 3 for refinements.

(24) Thus Bedau (1997: 377–8): ‘I define weak emergence as follows: Macrostate P of S with microdynamic D is weakly emergent if P can be derived from D and S's external conditions but only by simulation.’ Rueger (2000a) provides an analysis of synchronic and diachronic emergence in a similar framework.

(25) O'Connor (2000) now claims that only such models, and not supervenience‐based emergence models, can provide a good account of emergence.

(26) Humphreys (1997a) defines a fusion operator for property instances, where ‘By a fusion operation, I mean a real physical operation’ (1997a: 10). In his (2000), he extends the treatment to fused objects, such as the overlapping wave‐functions of two electrons in close proximity, and offers a partial analogy: ‘Consider poker chips in a casino. The basic units are red chips, and as soon as you have accumulated two red chips you can trade them in for a blue chip that is worth two units. The blue chip is not composed of two red chips and you cannot count its two components because it does not have any, but it behaves exactly as if there were two such units present’ (2000: 28–9). On the claim that there is no supervenience, see also Humphreys (1996, 1997b).

(27) I discuss classical Cārvāka, and the risk of epiphenomenalism it courts, in Ch. 3, and the theory of transformation as well as Udbhaṭa's concept of ‘assistive causation’ in Ch. 4.

(28) See Rueger (2000a, 2000b) for clear discussion, using the van der Pol oscillator as an example. The work of Vareli and Thompson (Vareli, Thompson, and Rosch 1991; Thompson 2007) on evolving auto‐poetic systems uses weak emergence to model biological systems, then extended to the theory of mind. What this yields is in effect a synthesis of Cārvāka and Tornado Views.

(29) See Jayanta's analysis of change—the so‐called pākaja theory—in Ch. 5, which he explicitly attributes to flames.

(30) Vasubandu (1973) (AK 1.39, trans. 1988–90: 108), where he says that each moment in the stream is the base (āśraya) of the next.

(31) See e.g. Kumārila: ye cehā ’jñātanānātvās teṣāṃ deheṣv ahaṃ matiḥ | tatrāpyātmā ’bhimānenety ahaṃ buddhir dhruvā 'tmani || (Ātmavāda 132a–d).

(32) Precisely the same point applies to Metzinger's claim that ‘No such things as selves exist in the world: Nobody ever was or had a self. All that ever existed were conscious self‐models that could not be recognised as models’ (Metzinger 2003: 1; see also Metzinger 2011). At face value, his view is a version of the Yogācāra View, that there is no place but a base in the phenomenal stream. However, he sees himself as having naturalized the discussion about self, and that implies that his true view is that it is the body which is the base. Metaphysically, Metzinger's view is therefore a Materialist View, with a claim about the special content of some mental states (that they represent a ‘phenomenal self‐model’). Buddhists are liberal naturalists, and their ‘no self’ doctrine should not be conflated with the hard naturalism of Metzinger's.

(33) I will reflect on these claims in Chs. 7, 8, and 9, and in Chs. 10 and 11 consider the arguments for and consequences of an additional idea, that any of these two Buddhist Views require experience to be reflexively self‐aware.

(34) Several synthetic views can easily be generated, for example by taking the conjunction of stream and body to be the base.

(35) Ganeri (2007) is a study of just this dialogue. The chapters of that book alternate between presentations of Madhyamaka and Vedānta so as to bring out the dialogical nature of the encounter. The work of Candrakīrti is particularly central here.

(36) Coseru (2012); Siderits, Thompson, and Zahavi (2011). It is natural for Dharmakīrti and Śāntarakṣita to be focal points in such endeavours.

(37) See Parfit (1984, 1999); Siderits (2003).