Object reidentification and the epistemic role of attention

Ratio 31 (4):402-414 (2018)

Nilanjan Das
University College London
Reidentification scepticism is the view that we cannot knowledgeably reidentify previously perceived objects. Amongst classical Indian philosophers, the Buddhists argued for reidentification scepticism. In this essay, I will discuss two responses to this Buddhist argument. The first response, defended by Vācaspati Miśra (9th century CE), is that our outer senses allow us to knowledgeably reidentify objects. I will claim that this proposal is problematic. The second response, due to Jayanta Bhaṭṭa (9th century CE), is that the manas or the inner sense, functioning as a capacity of attention, helps us knowledgeably reidentify objects. I will explain how this second response answers the Buddhists’ challenge.
Keywords object reidentification  attention  Nyaya
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DOI 10.1111/rati.12214
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Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dustin Stokes - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663.
Epistemology and the Evidential Status of Introspective Reports I.A. Goldman - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):1-16.

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