Unconscious forces: A survey of some concepts in indian philosophy

Asian Philosophy 14 (2):117 – 129 (2004)
In this article, I examine some traditional Indian conceptions of unconscious mental activity. There are concepts in the Indian philosophical tradition, notably saskāras and vāsanās, which can be taken to refer to unconscious mental states and dispositions. My discussion, which is essentially philosophical by nature, is loosely based on the English philosopher C.D. Broad's distinctions concerning the unconscious. Saskāras, which are interpreted realistically in Indian tradition, may manifest themselves as what I (and Broad) call relatively unconscious states. Evidence for this interpretation can be found in discussions concerning the nature of dream state and the supernatural powers of yogis in Indian tradition. It is interesting to try to view the retributive system of karma as an absolutely unconscious system, but this is not a plausible interpretation of the Indian view of karma.
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DOI 10.1080/0955236042000237363
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