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The article examines the controversy between the “orthodox” Indian philosophical school Vaiśeṣika and one of the greatest Buddhist philosophers - Vasubandhu (IV-V AD.) on the existence of subject (“ātman”) as a reality. The discussion is investigated on the example of the text “Pudgalaviniścaya” (hereinafter PV). PV of Vasubandhu - literally “Study on the Self”, or “pudgala” - is traditionally considered the 9th chapter of “Abhidharmakośabhaṣya” of the same author and is one of the most important polemical treatises on the self, or ātman, in Buddhist philosophy. Among the issues discussed are the famous “epistemological argument”, the ability of recall and perception, how a difference between moments of consciousness is possible, whether the substrate for consciousness is necessary. One of the strategies of Vasubandhu is that he tries to find internal contradictions in the arguments of opponents. We can say that the main argument of Vasubandhu is aimed at justifying the mechanism of the cause-and-effect occurrence of all phenomena (pratītya-samutpāda). If the Vaiśeṣikas proceed from their logic about the need for a substance for qualities, then Vasubandhu tries to persuade them to his side and offer a fundamentally new explanatory model, according to which there are only sequence-like moments-phenomena (dharmas) that flow from each other according to the law of cause and effect.

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L I Titlin

Institute of Philosophy RAS

Author for correspondence.


Goncharnaya Str., 12 build. 1, Moscow, Russia, 109240


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Copyright (c) 2019 Titlin L.I.

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