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>> No.16123456 [View]
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>>16123448

The self is said to be self-revealing, for everyday experience presupposes a ‘self-experience’ which is the condition of empirical knowledge. However, this ‘self-experience’ is not the experience of the self as an object, rather it is a non-objectifying immediate experience which, in an Advaita analogy, is like light which does not stand in need of an external light for is own illumination. The ‘entire tenor and drift’ of the Upaniṣads is that Brahman, far from being a transcendental principle that is unknown or otherwise accessible only to mystics, is ever present in the ‘self-experience’ of everyday life (NS, 378). The self of Advaita should not be viewed as a transcendental Principle, along the lines of a Platonic archetype, but rather as the immanent presupposition of all experience. Therefore, the unity of consciousness, for Śaṁkara, is not an abstract unknown but is ‘real in a certain sense’ (NS, 341).

The crucial phrase here is ‘in a certain sense’, for if Mukerji seeks to situate Śaṁkara between Green and Caird, this is also because he presents Advaita as an intermediate path through the systems of Kant and Hegel. While the Absolute of Advaita is the most foundational reality, and not a mere conceptual limitation such as the Kantian noumenon, it is not a relational whole such as the Hegelian Absolute. On the one hand, Mukerji draws extensive parallels between Śaṁkara’s views on the self and Kantian statements about the noumenal self. Mukerji argues that Kant’s affirmation of the transcendental unity of apperception can be put in Śaṁkara’s terms as follows: the conscious self is the presupposition (grāhikā) of the fleeting events of knowledge (NS, 218). Pointing out that Śaṁkara restricted categories such as generic unity, specific difference, action, quality, and relation to empirical objects, Mukerji comments that it may be ‘remarked without running the risk of being accused of overzeal that Sankara was essentially expressing the same truth that inspired Kant’s doctrine at a later age’ (NS, 157). The most significant of Śaṁkara’s conclusions, namely, that the ‘foundational character’ of unvarying consciousness is the presupposition of our experience of objects is also a theme that is shared by the contemporary ‘idealistic school’ which states that the self provides the a priori conditions of the determination of the objects of experience. Mukerji states that the ‘development of post-Kantian idealism bears eloquent testimony to the vitality of the Advaita position and the former may in this respect be regarded as an elaborate exposition and ramification of the latter’ (NS, 119).



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