Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-8zxtt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-13T10:01:30.675Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Vasubandhu on the First Person

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2023

Abstract

In classical South Asia, most philosophers thought that the self (if it exists at all) is what the first-person pronoun ‘I’ stands for. It is something that persists through time, undergoes conscious thoughts and experiences, and exercises control over actions. The Buddhists accepted the ‘no self’ thesis: they denied that such a self is substantially real. This gave rise to a puzzle for these Buddhists. If there is nothing substantially real that ‘I’ stands for, what are we talking about when we speak of ourselves? In this paper, I present one Buddhist answer to this question, an answer that emerges from the work of the Abhidharma thinker Vasubandhu (4th to 5th century CE).

Type
Paper
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy and the contributors 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

References

AK Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam of Vasubandhu, edited by Prahlad Pradhan and Aruna Haldar, second edition, (Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Institute, 1975).Google Scholar
AKBh Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośabhāṣya in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam of Vasubandhu, edited by Prahlad Pradhan and Aruna Haldar, second edition, (Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Institute, 1975).Google Scholar
AKBhD Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośabhāṣya in Abhidharmakośa and Bhāṣya of Ācārya Vasubandhu with Spuṭārthā Commentary of Ācārya Yaśomitra, edited by Svāmī Dvārikādāsa Śāstrī, (Varanasi: Bauddha Bhāratī, 1987).Google Scholar
Sphu      Yaśomitra's Spuṭārthā in Svāmī Dvārikādāsa Śāstrī (ed.), Abhidharmakośa and Bhāṣya of Ācārya Vasubandhu with Spuṭārthā Commentary of Ācārya Yaśomitra (Varanasi: Bauddha Bhāratī, 1987).Google Scholar
Carpenter, Amber D., ‘Persons Keeping Their Karma Together’, in Tanaka, Koji, Deguchi, Yasuo, Garfield, Jay L., and Priest, Graham (eds.), The Moon Points Back (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dhammajoti, K.L., Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma, third edition, (Hong Kong: Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong, 2007).Google Scholar
Duerlinger, James, Indian Buddhist Theories of Persons: Vasubandhu's ‘Refutation of the Theory of a Self’ (London: Routledge, 2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, Philosophy in Classical India: An Introduction and Analysis (London: Routledge, 2001).Google Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, ‘Subjectivity, Selfhood and the Use of the Word ‘I’’, in Siderits, Mark, Thompson, Evan, and Zahavi, Dan (eds.), Self, No Self?: Perspectives From Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goodman, Charles, ‘The Treasury of Metaphysics and the Physical World’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 54:216 (2004), 389401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gold, Jonathan, Paving the Great Way: Vasubandhu's Unifying Buddhist Philosophy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).Google Scholar
Kapstein, Matthew, Reason's Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian Tibetan Buddhist Thought (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2003).Google Scholar
Nunberg, Geoffrey, ‘Transfers of Meaning’, The Journal of Semantics, 12 (1995), 109–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siderits, Mark, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction (London: Ashgate, 2007).Google Scholar
Priestley, Leonard, Pudgalavāda Buddhism: The Reality of the Indeterminate Self (Toronto: Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, 1999).Google Scholar
Châu, Thích Thiện and Boin-Webb, Sara, The Literature of the Personalists of Early Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999).Google Scholar
AK Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam of Vasubandhu, edited by Prahlad Pradhan and Aruna Haldar, second edition, (Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Institute, 1975).Google Scholar
AKBh Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośabhāṣya in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam of Vasubandhu, edited by Prahlad Pradhan and Aruna Haldar, second edition, (Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Institute, 1975).Google Scholar
AKBhD Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośabhāṣya in Abhidharmakośa and Bhāṣya of Ācārya Vasubandhu with Spuṭārthā Commentary of Ācārya Yaśomitra, edited by Svāmī Dvārikādāsa Śāstrī, (Varanasi: Bauddha Bhāratī, 1987).Google Scholar
Sphu      Yaśomitra's Spuṭārthā in Svāmī Dvārikādāsa Śāstrī (ed.), Abhidharmakośa and Bhāṣya of Ācārya Vasubandhu with Spuṭārthā Commentary of Ācārya Yaśomitra (Varanasi: Bauddha Bhāratī, 1987).Google Scholar
Carpenter, Amber D., ‘Persons Keeping Their Karma Together’, in Tanaka, Koji, Deguchi, Yasuo, Garfield, Jay L., and Priest, Graham (eds.), The Moon Points Back (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dhammajoti, K.L., Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma, third edition, (Hong Kong: Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong, 2007).Google Scholar
Duerlinger, James, Indian Buddhist Theories of Persons: Vasubandhu's ‘Refutation of the Theory of a Self’ (London: Routledge, 2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, Philosophy in Classical India: An Introduction and Analysis (London: Routledge, 2001).Google Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, ‘Subjectivity, Selfhood and the Use of the Word ‘I’’, in Siderits, Mark, Thompson, Evan, and Zahavi, Dan (eds.), Self, No Self?: Perspectives From Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ganeri, Jonardon, The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness, and the First-Person Stance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goodman, Charles, ‘The Treasury of Metaphysics and the Physical World’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 54:216 (2004), 389401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gold, Jonathan, Paving the Great Way: Vasubandhu's Unifying Buddhist Philosophy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).Google Scholar
Kapstein, Matthew, Reason's Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian Tibetan Buddhist Thought (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2003).Google Scholar
Nunberg, Geoffrey, ‘Transfers of Meaning’, The Journal of Semantics, 12 (1995), 109–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siderits, Mark, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction (London: Ashgate, 2007).Google Scholar
Priestley, Leonard, Pudgalavāda Buddhism: The Reality of the Indeterminate Self (Toronto: Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, 1999).Google Scholar
Châu, Thích Thiện and Boin-Webb, Sara, The Literature of the Personalists of Early Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999).Google Scholar