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Page 169

Whether this argument is deductively valid or sound is debatable. I propose,
however, to view the argument as an inference to the best explanation. Given
the first and second premises as phenomenological evidence, the best
explanation for this evidence (so the argument claims) is the hypothesis of
reflexive awareness. Understood this way, I find the argument persuasive. To
explain why, I turn now to consider criticisms of the memory argument, which
I will argue are unsuccessful.

2.h Objections to the Memory Argument

In a recent article, Jay Garfield (2006) presents and endorses two objections to
the memory argument made by the Prāsaṅgika Mādhyamika philosophers
Candrakīrti (c.600–650 ce), Śāntideva (c.650–750ce), and Tsong Khapa
(1357–1419) (who, as Prāsaṅgika Mādhyamikas, reject reflexive awareness).

First objection: Premise 1 is not proven. The premise assumes that the
current memory must be the memory of one's being conscious (being visually
aware), rather than simply the memory of that of which one was conscious
(the object). But this claim about memory needs to be established.

Second objection: Premise 4 is not proven. It has not been shown that
reflexive awareness is ever a cause of memory, or that the only plausible
cause of memory is reflexive awareness. Furthermore, an alternative and
simpler explanation is available: One sees the blue sky without being
reflexively aware of one's seeing; this perception causes a subsequent memory
of the blue sky, and on this basis one infers that one was visually aware of the
sky. On this view, one infers the subjective side of the original perception; it is
not given directly to memory, and hence it was not present reflexively in the
original perceptual experience.

Here is Śāntideva's analogy as presented by Garfield: ‘A bear is
hibernating and is bitten by a rat. He develops an infection at the site of the
wound. When he awakes in the spring he experiences the pain of the infected
wound and knows on that basis that he experienced a rat bite, even though at
the time he was not aware that he was experiencing the bite’ (Garfield 2006:
210).

To reply to these objections I will draw from Husserl's analyses of
memory. Although Williams (1998: 237) states that he is not familiar with the
Buddhist memory argument from any Western context, Husserl (1991, 2005)

SELF‐NO‐SELF? MEMORY AND REFLEXIVE AWARENESS

Page 170

advances similar considerations in his writings on memory and time-
consciousness.

2.i Reply to the First Objection
The first premise of the memory argument makes a phenomenological claim
about memory: When I remember yesterday's blue sky there is a memory of
blue and a memory of seeing blue. The objection is that this claim about
memory needs to be established. One way to establish, or at least support, this
claim is to ground it on a phenomenological account of memory. Husserl
provides what we need in the form of a phenomenological analysis of the
intentional structure of episodic memory.

Let me begin with Husserl's distinction between intentional acts of
presentation and re-presentation (Marbach 1993: chs. 2 and 3). Perception is
presentational; imagination and memory are re-presentational. We can
approach this distinction from two sides, the side of the intentional object and
the side of the intentional act. In a perceptual experience, such as the
perception of a blue pot on the table, the object is experienced as present in its
‘bodily being’ and thus as directly accessible—one can view it from different
vantage points, pick it up and examine it more closely, and so on. In a re-
presentational experience, such as the visual memory of the blue pot, the
object is not experienced as present and accessible in this way, but as absent.
Yet this absence is precisely a phenomenal absence, for the experience is of
the object precisely as absent. This difference on the side of the intentional
object between bodily presence and absence corresponds to the difference on
the side of the intentional act between presentation and re-presentation. A re-
presentational experience intends its object precisely as both phenomenally
absent in its bodily being, and as mentally evoked or brought forth. In this
way, the object is said to be mentally re-presented, rather than perceptually
presented. It is important to note that what makes the experience re-
presentational is precisely that its object is mentally evoked or brought forth,
while also being phenomenally absent; it is not that the object is mentally
evoked or brought forth again. The latter characteristic belongs to memory,
but not to creative imagination or free fantasy.

In episodic memory, a situation or event is experienced not as present but
as past, and thus absent. Therefore, the past situation or event is necessarily
re-presented by the intentional cognition that takes it as its object. The
phenomenological question is how this re-presentation subjectively works.

EVAN THOMPSON

Page 338

reflexive 31, 32, 39, 161, 162, 172

thetic 288–90, 294, 295, 300, 302

self-cognition 120, 160–2

self-consciousness 41, 49n. 21, 56, 57, 133,

158, 160, 177, 178, 193, 223, 233,

234, 249, 285

self-givenness 56–60, 73, 74, 99, 126,

128, 130–4, 197, 199

selfhood 28, 35–38, 49 n. 12, 57–9, 67, 69,

76n. 7, 136, 169, 172, 218–228, 235,

243, 270, 287

individuated 226

self-identity 36, 76, 85, 104, 132

self-illumination 9–13, 30–4, 39, 49, 120,

160, 197–9, 201, 233, 234, 250, 263, 270,

285, 320, 322

self-localization 209, 210

self-model 34, 39, 52, 225

self-organizing systems 253

self-reflexivity 31–3, 39, 46, 47, 50

self-representation 138, 329

sense of self 3, 14, 27, 33, 34, 61–3, 71, 80,

82, 89, 106, 107, 108n. 16, 112,

130, 134–39, 145, 149

Sharf, R. 151, 152

Shoemaker, S. 179, 319

Siderits, M. 96n. 10, 97

Skandhas 176n. 1, 196n. 5, 213, 242–4, 260,

264

Soteriology 3, 8, 70, 81, 207, 209, 302n. 40,

312

specious present 87, 93, 99, 110

Śrīdhara 248, 249n. 9, 266, 268

Stern, D. N. 67

Sthiramati 176n.3, 185

Strawson, G. 28n.2, 34, 73, 84, 87n. 7, 101,

126, 135, 187, 188, 197,

241, 319, 320, 324

Strawson, P. F. 180, 185, 189

stream of consciousness 46, 48, 49, 51, 65,

68, 72, 74–6, 93, 118, 146, 160, 169, 199,

267, 268

subject:

experiencing 65, 118, 195, 198, 209, 241,

319, 329

minimal 84, 92, 101, 110

of experience 4, 12, 38, 39, 49, 64, 83,

98, 101, 102, 127, 147, 168, 169, 185,

190, 195, 221, 224, 241, 275–7, 288,

291, 292, 319, 320

‘thin’ 276, 277, 319, 320

subjective aspect 31, 32n. 10, 121, 318

subjectivity 29, 30, 33, 38, 50–2, 66–69,

101, 115–17, 122–27, 130,

131, 136, 141–52, 168, 169, 209, 226,

235, 237, 270, 275, 308, 309, 318,

319, 324, 327

of experience 49, 60, 64, 69, 100, 197–99,

224, 232

subject-object duality 122

subject of knowledge 234

śūnyatā, see emptiness

superimposition 210, 211, 261, 329n.23

Sureśvara 229, 231, 232, 234

svabhāva, see intrinsic nature

svaprakāśa, see self-illumination

svasa vedana,see self-illumination

svata prāmā ya see veridicality, intrinsic

synthesis 108, 126, 176, 315

diachronic 314



temporality 72, 75, 159, 268n.32

‘the having is the knowing’ 296

Theravāda 119, 142n. 41, 148

thetic 9, 279, 280, 288–91, 293–302

thinker 86, 88, 91, 92, 103, 182, 184, 241,

291

‘thin’ subject,see subject, ‘thin’

Page 339

Thompson, E. 99, 252–4, 259, 262n. 24, 322

time-consciousness 72, 159, 160, 169, 266,

267, 270

inner 72

transparency 125, 208, 225, 235, 297n. 30

truth 275

conventional 246

ultimate 246, 320

Tsongkhapa 129n. 24, 260–5, 268

two tiered illusion of self 103–5, 107, 111

two uses of “I” 186–90



Uddyotakara 249, 260

Unbrokenness 61, 87, 91, 92, 103, 107, 108

unconstructed 62, 65n. 2, 69, 86, 88, 91, 92,

103, 107–9

unconstructedness 64, 65n. 2, 69, 87, 88

unified 41, 47, 60, 61, 81–3, 86, 88, 93–5,

98, 103, 108, 110, 125, 148, 149, 202,

203, 237, 256, 267

unity 6, 40, 42, 61, 90–3, 103, 108, 127,

139, 198, 202–6

diachronic 5, 71, 72, 74, 81, 87, 92, 100,

110, 111, 127, 131–3, 199

of consciousness 48, 72, 87, 218–20,

233, 235, 236

synchronic 72, 81, 87, 92, 100, 147–9,

202

upādāna, see appropriation



Vaiśeṣika 186, 248

Varela, F. 240, 252, 255–9, 263

Vasubandhu 119, 176–90, 244, 245, 249,

254, 314

Velleman, M. 85, 219

veridicality:

extrinsic 328

intrinsic 328

vikalpa, see conceptual fabrication

Wilde, O. 68

Williams, P. 163, 171, 320n. 15

Witness 5, 83, 94, 110, 123, 127, 128, 194,

203, 204n. 21, 315

witness-consciousness 62–4, 82, 83, 93, 103,

108, 111, 128, 194, 195, 204n. 21,

213, 218

witnessing 5, 83, 102, 128, 194, 201, 203,

204n. 21, 213, 241, 314

Wittgenstein, L. 186, 188



Yoga 193

Yogācāra 116, 117, 121, 123, 143–

50, 184n. 10, 197–9, 317, 318, 328

Yogācāra–Sautrāntika 309, 317



Zahavi, D. 28, 44–51, 82, 84, 99–

100, 110, 111, 116, 117, 126–127, 130–

133, 135, 173, 181–182, 184, 204 n. 21,

207 n. 26, 217–218, 221–222, 224–226,

232–233, 236, 269

Zhayba, J. 130n. 25

zombies 329

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