Situating the Elusive Self of Advaita Vedānta<sup>1</sup>

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

in Self, No Self?

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593804
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595691 | DOI:
Situating the Elusive Self of Advaita Vedānta1

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This chapter looks at the way Advaita Vedānta both affirms a unified consciousness (which might be called a self), and rejects the intuition that ‘I’ picks out that self. Its position is situated cross-culturally through relating it to two contemporary and seemingly opposed positions. On one hand there is Zahavi's theory of a minimal self that, while being only a phenomenological core, nevertheless is a subject whose ‘presence’ is indicated by first-personal ‘mineness’. On the other hand, Metzinger argues that consciousness generates a model of a phenomenal self, so that the construction of such an illusory self is transparent to consciousness itself. Taking Metzinger's comparison of his position with Advaita and Buddhism as a starting-point, the chapter shows how Advaita's self is like Metzinger's in taking the first-personal perspective as an illusion, but also like Zahavi's in insisting on a minimal subject, a consciousness reflexively aware of its own presence.

Keywords: Advaita; self; ātman; consciousness; auto-luminosity; reflexivity; consciousness as presence; Metzinger; Zahavi

Chapter.  8831 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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