Jonardon Ganeri

in The Self

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652365
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740718 | DOI:

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A unity argument, one version of which Kant described as “the Achilles of all dialectical inferences,” infers the unity of the self from the possible integration of information from distinct sense modalities and perhaps also memory. Several different formulations are presented by Nyāya philosophers, some involving recognition, some binding, and some tracking. These are arguments only for unity: none of them sustains any conclusion about simplicity, immateriality, or eternality. Unity arguments are where the inter‐relatedness of the procedural, participant, and immersed self is most fully expressed; or, to put it another way, where participation, immersion, and coordination find joint articulation in the idea of self. The strongest version is one in which one considers what is required of someone who has the capacity to think of their perceptions in different modalities as perceptions of one and the same object. The conclusion of this argument is that it is necessary for self‐consciousness and for the possession of a first‐person stance that one conceives of oneself as an individual, and indeed as an individual who is dependent on a physical object, specifically one's body.

Keywords: unity argument; Kant; binding; tracking; sense modalities; simplicity; immateriality; eternality

Chapter.  9295 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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