Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 39, Issue 4–5, pp 411–426 | Cite as

Self-awareness (svasaṃvedana) and Infinite Regresses: A Comparison of Arguments by Dignāga and Dharmakīrti



This paper compares and contrasts two infinite regress arguments against higher-order theories of consciousness that were put forward by the Buddhist epistemologists Dignāga (ca. 480–540 CE) and Dharmakīrti (ca. 600–660). The two arguments differ considerably from each other, and they also differ from the infinite regress argument that scholars usually attribute to Dignāga or his followers. The analysis shows that the two philosophers, in these arguments, work with different assumptions for why an object-cognition must be cognised: for Dignāga it must be cognised in order to enable subsequent memory of it, for Dharmakīrti it must be cognised if it is to cognise an object.


Buddhist epistemology Self-awareness Infinite regress Higher-order theories of consciousness 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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