Chapter

Reflexivism

Jonardon Ganeri

in The Self

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652365
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740718 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652365.003.0011
Reflexivism

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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

Chapter.  6728 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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