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Pointing at the MoonBuddhism, Logic, Analytic Philosophy$
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Jay L. Garfield, Tom J. F. Tillemans, and Mario D'Amato

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381559.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 June 2020

Svasaṃvitti as Methodological Solipsism: “Narrow Content” and the Problem of Intentionality in Buddhist Philosophy of Mind

Svasaṃvitti as Methodological Solipsism: “Narrow Content” and the Problem of Intentionality in Buddhist Philosophy of Mind

Chapter:
(p.135) 10 Svasaṃvitti as Methodological Solipsism: “Narrow Content” and the Problem of Intentionality in Buddhist Philosophy of Mind
Source:
Pointing at the Moon
Author(s):

Dan Arnold (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381559.003.0010

This chapter draws connections between the idea of svasamvitti or svasamvedana (reflexive awareness, apperception), a phenomenon very controversial in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy from the 6th through the 19th centuries, and the idea of methodological solipsism in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, made popular by Fodor in the late 20th century. It explores many interpretations in Indian Buddhist literature of the claim that cognition is always reflexive, but extracts as a core of all of these views the commitment that the immediate content of consciousness is always a mental representation and never an external phenomenon; thus, in order to understand consciousness and its contents, one must bracket the external world. The chapter explores the arguments for these positions and notes that they are strikingly similar in form and in detail to those offered by Fodor in defense of essentially the same thesis. It suggests that even contemporary cognitive science can be in fruitful dialogue with Buddhist philosophy.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Buddhist philisophy, svasamvedana, cognitive science, philosophy of mind, Fodor

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