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Saving the Self? Classical Hindu Theories of Consciousness and Contemporary Physicalism

C. Ram-Prasad
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 51, No. 3, Eighth East-West Philosophers' Conference (Jul., 2001), pp. 378-392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1399848
Page Count: 15
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Saving the Self? Classical Hindu Theories of Consciousness and Contemporary Physicalism
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Abstract

Contemporary consciousness studies, where it is not explicitly religious, is mostly physicalist. Theories of self and consciousness in classical Hindu thought can easily be seen to contribute to religious issues in consciousness studies. But it is also the case that there is much in that that can be useful within broadly physicalist parameters of study as well. The Mīmāṃsā and Nyāya schools, while having (nonphysicalist) soteriological goals for the metaphysical self, nonetheless provide theories of its relationship with consciousness that allow for interpretative strategies that can make their theories relevant to a broadly physicalist study of consciousness. Advaita Vedānta cannot be so interpreted, but its inquiry into the nature of consciousness can provide material for a fundamental critique of the project of objectifying consciousness.

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