Grounding Individuality in Illusion: A Philosophical Exploration of Advaita Vedānta in light of Contemporary Panpsychism

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (3) (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The metaphysical vision of Advaita Vedānta has been making its way into some corners of Western analytic philosophy, and has especially garnered attention among those philosophers who are seeking to develop metaphysical systems in opposition to both reductionist materialism and dualism. Given Vedānta’s monistic view of consciousness, it might seem natural to put Vedānta in dialogue with the growing position of panpsychism which, although not fully monistic, similarly takes mind to be a fundamental feature of reality. This paper will evaluate to what extent Śaṅkara’s monism can bypass the most pressing issues facing panpsychism, namely combination and individuation problems. As will be seen in this paper, while Advaita Vedānta is able to avoid some of the panpsychist problems, it struggles ultimately to ontologically ground illusion in a coherent manner. As a result, a conclusion of this paper is that although Śaṅkara’s vision offers a promising route for those philosophers who take consciousness to be fundamental – including panpsychists – it cannot be uncritically adopted due to the problem of grounding Illusion.

Similar books and articles

Priority Cosmopsychism and the Advaita Vedānta.Luca Gasparri - 2019 - Philosophy East and West 69 (1):130-142.
Consciousness and Brahman-atman.Mark B. Woodhouse - 1978 - The Monist 61 (January):109-124.
A survey of post-Śaṅkara Advaita Vedānta.Sulochana Ananta Nachane - 2000 - Delhi: Paramamitra Prakashan. Edited by Ravīndra Kumāra Paṇḍā.
Contemporary relevance of advaita vedānta.N. K. Devaraja - 1970 - Philosophy East and West 20 (2):129-136.
Sri Brahmanandavilasah a Prakarana Grantha of Advaita Vedanta.T. N. Sa Svatananda & Dave - 1964 - H.H.J.S. Abhinava Saccidananda Tirth Maharaja Indological Research Institute.
The self in advaita vedanta.Eliot Deutsch - 1966 - International Philosophical Quarterly 6 (March):5-21.
A study of the Vedantic outlook of Sufi-sadhana. ʼAnanda - 2000 - Delhi: Indian Publishers Distributors.
Advaita, a conceptual analysis.Aryasamayajula Ramamurty - 1996 - New Delhi: D.K. Printworld.


Added to PP

737 (#22,098)

6 months
254 (#9,505)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Panpsychism and God.Joanna Leidenhag - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (12):e12889.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The character of consciousness.David John Chalmers - 2010 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Combination Problem for Panpsychism.David Chalmers - 2017 - In Brüntrup Godehard & Jaskolla Ludwig (eds.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Supervenience and mind: selected philosophical essays.Jaegwon Kim - 1993 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

View all 51 references / Add more references