Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problem in Indian Philosophy

In Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Consciousness. New York: Routledge. pp. 92-104 (2018)
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This chapter considers the sheer amount of literature associated with the exploration of consciousness in Indian philosophy. It focuses on a range of methodological and conceptual issues, drawing on three main sources: the naturalist theories of mind of Nyaya and Vaisesika, the mainly phenomenological accounts of mental activity and consciousness of Abhidharma and Yogacara Buddhism, and the subjective transcendental theory of consciousness of Advaita Vedanta. The contributions of Indian philosophers to the study of consciousness are examined not simply as a contribution to intellectual history, but rather with a view to evaluating their relevance to contemporary issues, specifically to the mind-body problem. The presence of dualist positions with strong naturalist undercurrents in Indian philosophy, especially in the Nyaya and Samkhya traditions, rules out the possibility of treating the mind-body problem as an idiosyncratic feature of Cartesian metaphysics.
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