Consciousness and Causality: Dharmakīrti Against Physicalism

In Birgit Kellner, McAllister Patrick, Lasic Horst & McClintock Sara (eds.), Reverberations of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy: Proceedings of the Fifth International Dharmakīrti Conference, Heidelberg August 26 to 30, 2014. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. pp. 21-40 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
This paper examines Dharmakīrti's arguments against Cārvāka physicalism in the Pramāṇasiddhi chapter of his magnum opus, the Pramāṇavārttika, with a focus on classical Indian philosophical attempts to address the mind-body problem. The key issue concerns the relation between cognition and the body, and the role this relation plays in causal-explanatory accounts of consciousness and cognition. Drawing on contemporary debates in philosophy of mind about embodiment and the significance of borderline states of consciousness, the paper proposes a philosophical reconstruction that builds on two important features of the Buddhist account: an expanded conception of causality and a robust account of phenomenal content.
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