Manyness of selves, samkhya, and K. C. Bhattacharyya

Philosophy East and West 54 (4):425-457 (2004)
Abstract
: Classical Sāmkhya, as represented by Īśvarakrsna's Sāmkhya-kārikā, is well known for its attempt to prove not only the reality but the plurality of selves (purusa-bahutva). The Sāmkhya argument, since it proceeds from the reality of the manyness of the bodies as its basic premise, approximates, even if not in every detail, the 'argument from analogy' in its traditional form (which the essay tries to explicate). One distinguished modern interpreter, K. C. Bhattacharyya, however, not satisfied with this account, attempts to interpret and expound Sāmkhya pluralism in terms of a radically different strategy consisting of showing that the self is known in buddhi in its pure asmita function as an infinite I and so as necessarily involving all Is or selves. This solution, which in the process offers reflections on such issues as infinity, universals, the role of 'I', the individuality (of self ), et cetera, is examined and criticized at length with respect to some of its basic assumptions, with a brief focus on the idea of 'self-consciousness', which according to some (Western) philosophers presupposes 'other'-consciousness and which in certain respects seems to inform Bhattacharyya's thoughts on the main issue
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