Marco FerranteNov 24, 2020
Indian Perspectives on Consciousness, Language and Self
The School of Recognition on Linguistics and Philosophy of Mind
For many Indian philosophers, language is inextricably tied up with conceptualization. In Indian Perspectives on Consciousness, Language and Self (Routledge, 2020), Marco Ferrante shows how a set of tenth century philosophers living in Kashmir argue for the existence of a self on the basis of the interrelationship between linguistic concepts and mental experience, against the criticism of Buddhists. In his examination of Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, famous for their membership in the "school of Recognition" or Pratyabhijñā, Ferrante traces connections not only back in time to the Sanskrit grammarian and philosopher Bhartṛhari, but forward in time to contemporary analytic philosophy of language and mind. He argues that these thinkers took first-person subjectivity seriously in their reasoning about our mental lives, bringing together commitments which today might be characterized as a higher-order theory of consciousness, a belief in the existence of qualia, a form of panpsychism, and a kind of lingualism (the dependence of thought on language). The book engages in both textual analysis of important Sanskrit texts, as well as philosophical evaluation of the arguments contained therein, with an eye towards their relevance for philosophy understood broadly.
Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff).