"In Praise of Reflexivity: Śrīharṣa on the Self-Intimating Nature of Consciousness"
Let reflexivism be the view that any conscious mental occurrence constitutes an awareness of itself. In first millenium South Asia, many Sanskrit philosophers--including the Buddhists and the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsakas--defended this view. But the view faced two central objections from other Sanskrit philosophers, especially the Naiyāyikas and the Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas. The first objection was that standard arguments for reflexivism depend on questionable level-bridging principles: principles that imply that, necessarily, if an agent undergoes a conscious mental occurrence, they must also be aware of it. These principles were rejected by both Naiyāyikas and Mīmāṃsakas. The second objection was that reflexivism collapses into a self-representational theory of consciousness: a view according to which our conscious mental occurrences represent themselves. But, according to the Naiyāyikas and the Mīmāṃsakas, this is problematic because nothing can represent itself. In this paper, I will reconstruct the view of the 12th century Advaita Vedāntin, Śrīharṣa, who defends reflexivism against both these objections. He argues that there are plausible level-bridging principles that support reflexivism, and that reflexivism needn't collapse into a self-representational theory of consciousness.