On the Possibility оf a Dual-Natured Self

RUDN Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):285-304 (2022)
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In this paper I examine compatibilism and incompatibilism about whether the self can be both a subject and an object in the same awareness at the same time. While this is an old debate that many traditions of philosophy have contributed to, my point of departure is the work of A.C. Mukerji who worked on the possibility of self-awareness by articulating, what he called, the paradox of ego-centricity. I also consider Patañjali, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Arindam Chakrabarti on the debate over compatibilism. First, I present Mukerji’s paradox, then I critically examine Patañjali and Merleau-Ponty’s arguments against incompatibilism. I move on to bring Mukerji’s paradox into contact with Chakrabarti’s arguments in favor of compatibilism. I critically examine Chakrabarti’s arguments in favor of compatibilism and against incompatibilism. While insightful and powerful, I argue that they can be resisted; and should be considered alongside Mukerji’s paradox. I close by offering an argument for compatibilism based on an analogy with particle-wave duality in quantum physics and the relation between conceivability and metaphysical modality.



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Anand Vaidya
San Jose State University

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