The Problem of Other Minds in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies




What is the problem of other minds as found in Buddhist philosophy? How does the doctrine of no-self shape the problem? To what extent is it the same problem as that which Western philosophers have identified within a Cartesian framework? This dissertation begins by looking at the development within Buddhism of external world scepticism, and the way in which this development raises further questions about our knowledge of, and the existence of, other minds. It then analyzes Dharmakīrti’s response to the problem in his Santānāntarasiddhi—Proof of Other Minds—which shows how there can be knowledge of other minds in the absence of an external world. Through analyzing his arguments, this dissertation demonstrates how Dharmakīrti offers us both a form of idealism that can resist solipsism and a compelling approach to knowledge of other minds that is importantly distinct from theories on offer in contemporary philosophy.