Journal of Indian Philosophy 48 (5):791-825 (2020)

Nilanjan Das
University College London
In this essay, my aim is to explain Vātsyāyana’s solution to a problem that arises for his theory of liberation. For him and most Nyāya philosophers after him, liberation consists in the absolute cessation of pain. Since this requires freedom from embodied existence, it also results in the absolute cessation of pleasure. How, then, can agents like us be rationally motivated to seek liberation? Vātsyāyana’s solution depends on what I will call the Pain Principle, i.e., the principle that we should treat all aspects of our embodied existence as pain. If we were to follow this advice, we would come to apply the label of pain to all aspects of our embodied existence, including pleasure. This would undermine our attachment to our own embodied existence. I show that this fits with Vātsyāyana’s general theory of motivation. According to this theory, by manipulating the labels using which we think about the world and ourselves, we can induce radical shifts in our patterns of motivation.
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-020-09438-x
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A Yogacara Buddhist Theory of Metaphor.Roy Tzohar - 2018 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

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