https://doi.org/10.31979/2151-6014(2019).100109">
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Abstract

This paper will explore competing intuitions behind the problem of other minds. On the one hand, consciousness is strictly a self-manifest, first-person phenomenon: subjectivity is in each case one’s own. On the other hand, it is obvious, on the basis of their behavioral activity, that others are conscious agents despite this coming across through objective determinations. The tension between these intuitions is what grounds the problem of other minds. Attempts to navigate this problem generally neglect one of these intuitions and so are inadequate accounts of intersubjectivity. As such, and given the paradox involved in accepting each intuition, I argue that we must look to traditions that are comfortable with paradox if we are to give an adequate account of intersubjectivity and the relationship between one’s own and other minds. In particular, I point to the Kaśmīr Śaiva tradition, and specifically the work of Utpaladeva (ca. 900-950 CE) and Abhinavagupta (ca. 950-1025 CE), as an excellent resource for bringing together and holding in tension these paradoxical intuitions. For in this tradition, the very nature of reality is at once solipsistic and paradoxically revealed through a divine, intersubjective dialogue. As such, this tradition takes each intuition seriously despite the tension between them.

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