Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of by Dan Arnold

By Dan Arnold

Premodern Buddhists are often characterised as veritable “mind scientists" whose insights count on glossy learn at the mind and brain. Aiming to complicate this tale, Dan Arnold confronts an important problem to well known makes an attempt at harmonizing classical Buddhist and sleek medical concept: considering such a lot Indian Buddhists held that the psychological continuum is uninterrupted by way of dying (its continuity is what Buddhists suggest by way of “rebirth"), they might haven't any truck with the concept every little thing in regards to the psychological will be defined when it comes to mind occasions. however, a fundamental move of Indian Buddhist suggestion, linked to the seventh-century philosopher Dharmakirti, seems to be liable to arguments sleek philosophers have leveled opposed to physicalism. by way of characterizing the philosophical difficulties typically confronted via Dharmakirti and modern philosophers akin to Jerry Fodor and Daniel Dennett, Arnold seeks to improve an realizing of either first-millennium Indian arguments and modern debates at the philosophy of brain. the problems heart on what smooth philosophers have known as intentionality—the proven fact that the brain will be approximately (or signify or suggest) different issues. Tracing an account of intentionality via Kant, Wilfrid Sellars, and John McDowell, Arnold argues that intentionality can't, in precept, be defined in causal phrases. Elaborating a few of Dharmakirti's primary commitments (chiefly his apoha thought of that means and his account of self-awareness), Arnold indicates that regardless of his main issue to refute physicalism, Dharmakirti's causal reasons of the psychological suggest that glossy arguments from intentionality lower as a lot opposed to his undertaking as they do opposed to physicalist philosophies of brain. this can be obtrusive within the arguments of a few of Dharmakirti's contemporaneous Indian critics (proponents of the orthodox Brahmanical Mimasa university in addition to fellow Buddhists from the Madhyamaka college of thought), whose reviews exemplify an identical good judgment as glossy arguments from intentionality. Elaborating those numerous strands of suggestion, Arnold exhibits that likely arcane arguments between first-millennium Indian thinkers can remove darkness from issues nonetheless greatly on the center of of latest philosophy.

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Additional info for Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind

Sample text

27 Only, then, something intrinsic to awareness could meet both of the relevant conditions. Dignāga has to suggest, though, two ways to make sense of this claim, which we might characterize as alternately reflecting third-personal and first-personal takes on the question. 28 First-personally speaking, however—with reference to what is phenomenologically accessible to the subject of cognition—Dignāga’s “internally knowable form” counts as meeting the causal condition only on a different understanding of what “being a cause” consists in.

Dharmakīrti’s elaboration of the causally describable character of perception, then, prominently involves reference to mental representations. The beginning of his Pramāṇaviniścaya, for example, thus characterizes perceptible (pratyakṣa)20 objects as contra the constitutively imperceptible (parokṣa) objects that are knowable only through inference: There are only two kinds of things, perceptible and imperceptible. 21 That— 26 3 dharmakīrti’s proof of rebirth unique, having the nature of a thing—is a unique particular (svalakṣaṇa).

In the Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha of Mādhava, c. 36 In this as in many respects, Dharmakīrti’s account is strikingly similar to the empiricism of John Locke, who also took our knowledge of the external character of the constraints on knowledge to be finally inferential. For Locke, “there can be nothing more certain, than that the Idea we receive from an external Object is in our Minds”—despite which, he said, we are entitled to claim knowledge “of the existence of particular external Objects, by that perception and Consciousness we have of the actual entrance of Ideas from them” (1689, 537–538).

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