Sam Vara wrote: ↑Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:05 pmYour input in this is much appreciated. Your earlier comment has an element which is repeated above: the idea that what is dependent upon something else cannot be self. I think I am arguing for a "middle way" of a definition here, something that is bounded by the Buddha's other utterances, but also by common sense and intelligibility. A self as the personal unity of experience is certainly dependent, in two ways. First, it logically requires those elements of experience, those objects which render it a unitary subject. We could not conceive of subjectivity as being content-free, any more than we can conceive of objects in themselves. Second, there is no reason why this type of "self" should not begin and end with one's biological life, and be a mere epiphenomenon of we-know-not-what. I suspect Bill V. would want to save a little space whereby this unitary nature of experience could form the foundation for an eternal soul, though to his credit he doesn't attempt to argue this. And I can see why Nanavira would want to downplay this and keep well clear of the notion of "self".
I am with you for the most part! I think its true that most of the arguments put forward to remove the subject quite neatly destroy the object as well. Humean style phenomenalists seem quite willing to bear the fall out of being logically consistent here, and that is to their merit. But this all comes back to "what cannot be found in the present moment, does not exist" and reminds me of Bradley's long and compelling tract against solipsism in Appearance and Reality.
but I would ask: can we retain the personal unity of experience-the togetherness, directionality, and for-ness of experience- without rendering it a subject? We might also ask, in the other direction, if we can retain the togetherness, directionality, and what-appears-ness of the experience without rendering it as an object?
Are you saying you see those who would posit khandas-as-essences as succumbing to a form of eternalism? (I think this is true, by the way)
Not the least of the dangers of the facile and fallacious notion 'truth in the highest sense' is its power to lull the unreflecting mind into a false sense of security. The unwary thinker comes to believe that he understands what, in fact, he does not understand, and thereby effectively blocks his own progress.
Of course not! All you have to do is memorize a few taxonomies, engage in some hostile debates, and you're a stream winner right?
I read BV's paper on the chariot, wonderful stuff. I just wanted to add something, possibly off topic. There is a difference between how the chariot is understood in Theravada vs. Mahayana (Madhyamaka). For the former, the unity is (supposedly) refuted but the parts are "ultimately real." For the latter the unity is refuted but the parts are refuted for the same reason, ad infinitum in both directions, i.e. no ultimate is found, wholes and parts are interdependent and neither can be established: the chariot appears, but cannot be found; its components appear, but cannot be found; their parts appear, but cannot be found...the rabbit hole never ends. Its like happily embracing Bradley's infinite regress without sublating the paradox into an Absolute or reducing it to 'ultimate parts.' (See the second quote in my signature)
For me this is a different animal, and closer to phenomenological dhamma's infinite hierarchies of reflection and awareness, minus the latter's ontological commitments.