Editors

Glen A. Hayes and Sthaneshwar Timalsina

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2016

Publication Title

Religions

Volume

7

Issue

7

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rel7070087

Abstract

This article demonstrates remarkably similar methods for linking mind and body to address the “hard problem” in the work of 11th-century Indian philosopher Abhinavagupta with a currently prominent neuroscienctific theory, Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory 3.0. Both Abhinavagupta and Tononi and Christof Koch hinge their theories on the identity of phenomenal subjective experience with causality. Giulio Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory is remarkable precisely in its method for dealing with the mind-body problem; namely, Tononi’s mathematically oriented systems neurology proposes something we typically do not find in neuroscientific literature—that we start from a phenomenology of experience. Abhinavagupta’s sophisticated and, for his milieu, novel way of linking subjectivity and objectivity in the concepts of knowledge (jñāna) and action (kriyā) also offers a way of understanding how subjectivity can be linked to causality. This particular configuration is mostly absent in Western Cartesian models for understanding consciousness and in Indian philosophical speculations on consciousness. However, this, in any case, is precisely the move that Tononi makes when he proposes that information is both “causal and intrinsic.” Abhinavagupta’s similar linkage of subjectivity with causality can help us to think about Tononi’s neuroscientific mathematical model.

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