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>>16123433

According to Mukerji’s reading, if Green veers, in this manner, towards a deep agnosticism about the self, Caird, on the other hand, mistakenly introduces empirical categories into the self. Caird argues that the self constitutes itself by opposing itself as its object, and by overcoming this very opposition, such that the self is a concrete unity of identity-in-difference. Unity and difference should be seen as inseparably connected in self-consciousness, through which the self knows itself and all its objects: ‘the self exists as one self only as it opposes itself, as object, to itself, as subject, and immediately denies and transcends that opposition. Only because it is such a concrete unity, which has in itself a resolved contradiction, can the intelligence cope with all the manifoldness and division of the mighty universe …’ (Caird 2002 [1883]: 116).

Responding to Caird’s notion of the self as an ‘organic unity’, Mukerji allows that unity-in-difference may be the most universal form to which every object of experience conforms; however, this universality does not show that the true subject itself is a unity-in-difference, for the subject is the logical presupposition of all categories, including the category of ‘unity’ which cannot be applied to the subject (NS, 18–19). Therefore, he criticizes Caird for viewing the self as the correlative of the not-self, arguing that on this account the self is another empirical object, and not the real self which is the presupposition of all objects (NS, 21). Mukerji’s Kantian point is that since a ‘category’ is a principle of interpretation that is employed to objects of experience, the self cannot itself be a category, even the highest category, since every category implies an ultimate unity (NS, 98–99).

The point of this subtle discussion of the complexities of British idealisms emerges gradually: Mukerji seeks to situate Advaita in a conceptual space somewhere between the systems of Caird and Green. On the one hand, because Caird views self-consciousness as a unity that is mediated through its consciousness of objects, he effectively views the self as an empirical object (NS, 90). Noting Caird’s view that only with the ‘return’ of the self to itself or the reduplication of the self in the judgment ‘I am I’, that the ‘ego, strictly speaking, comes into existence’ (Caird 1889: 403), Mukerji argues that this developmental account of the self, which progresses from consciousness to self-consciousness, presupposes the categories of space and time which are the transcendental conditions of any entity that undergoes a processive change. Therefore, Caird’s developmental self cannot be the true subject, which is the very source of the categories and cannot be an object which is comprehended by the categories (NS, 88).



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