Dignāga and Dharmakīrti on Perception and Self-Awareness

In John Powers (ed.), The Buddhist World. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 526–537 (2016)
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Abstract
Like many of their counterparts in the West, Buddhist philosophers realized a long time ago that our linguistic and conceptual practices are rooted in pre-predicative modes of apprehension that provide implicit access to whatever is immediately present to awareness. This paper examines Dignāga’s and Dharmakīrti’s contributions to what has come to be known as “Buddhist epistemology” (sometimes referred in the specialist literature by the Sanskrit neologism pramāṇavāda, lit. “doctrine of epistemic warrants”), focusing on the phenomenological and epistemic role of perception and self-awareness. The central argument is that reliance on accurate observations and on an understanding of the contextual and dispositional factors that constrain, condition, and direct our perceptual and intentional states gives this tradition of epistemic inquiry a pragmatic focus unique in premodern Indian philosophy.
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